Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Kings Cross United information

I thought I'd better put some information here about Kings Cross United so that people interested in being new joiners can find out about Kings Cross United group.

Kings Cross United, or KCU, ( I'm typing the words 'Kings Cross United' a lot so it comes up in search engines, sorry) is an informal group set up by survivors of the Piccadilly line train bomb of 7th July for fellow-survivors. It has no leader, though a few of the group manage enquiries and requests to join. Some of us put together a media strategy, with the group's support to find passengers in the early days, and some of us, including myself spoke to the press or appeared on TV. We only did a little bit of media, and only so other survivors could find us. We don't seek a media platform now.

Kings Cross United is a group with no political or religious affiliations that is open to anyone who was on any carriage of the Piccadilly line train, and exists mostly as a kind of virtual lounge where people can use the Kings Cross United group messaging system to stay in contact.

It's not a therapy group, (but some have said it has been as helpful as, or instead of counselling, to find others who know what they went through and understand the after-effects, who can help them piece together what happened on the day.) We have a message board which people use to post their thoughts and share lots of practical information. Some people browse the board and read the messages, just to see how everyone is doing, but don't post much. Others have lots of conversations. Some of us have personal blogs - like this one - where we express our personal thoughts and opinions - you can read other Kings Cross United blogs which are linked in my sidebar. (Obviously we don't all have the same brain because we were on the same train - individual blogs are individual's voices not those of the whole group).

There's over 100 people in the group now, which we think is about 1 in 7 of the people who were on the Piccadilly line train that was bombed. Once a month we go to the pub. (People ask what happens then. We buy each other drinks. We chat. We are usually the last to leave. It is just the same as going to the pub with people from work except there's no office politics!)

We're not a charity and we have never asked for any money - we don't actually need any money for anything as the group software we use is free. (Though a London newspaper did once put £100 behind the bar once for us for our Christmas drinks party).

People pop in and out as they feel like - we're getting busier as the anniversary approaches. We also use instant messenger systems to chat together so that Kings Cross United members not in the U.K - we have members in Spain, Singapore, Turkey, for example - can chat to UK members online and have 'virtual' pub sessions. New members join all the time, from every carriage of the train and are welcomed by the group. If people want to talk to the media we give the survivors the writer's details so they can call the writer themselves, if they don't, no problem as nobody's details are ever passed on - it's a secure group.

Kings Cross United doesn't exist as a media resource for survivor stories; we have only done a limited bit of media, as a group, simply to find other survivors and let them know we exist.The group is wholly private and you can only access the website if you are an invited member of Kings Cross United. We are proud of the way that we have handled media ourselves for 11 months: we have never been misrepresented in the media during the past 12 months, and we have done it all ourselves.

We were up and running within days of the bombs, when fellow-passengers started to read my urban 75 account of the day ( urban 75 is a London web community) and then my BBC web diary of the week and got in touch.

Kings Cross United contains men and women of all ages and backgrounds, from every carriage of the train, plus some of the people who rescued us. The interesting thing is that though none of us knew each other before 7th July, I cannot think of a nicer group of people to be blown up and trapped underground with. If this is a representative sample of ordinary people on a London train - and I think it is - then the world is an all right place.


(1 ) if you want to find fellow passengers and you were on the Piccadilly train, please email kingscrossunited AT yahoo.co.uk and someone from the group will get in touch.

(2) If you feel you would like to talk to someone about the London bombings, you can contact 7 July Assistance Centre, on 0845 054 7444 which is there for anyone affected by the day and provides free support services. They can also help if you were a survivor from one of the other bombs and put you in contact with other survivors.

(3) If you are a journalist and have
a generic 7/7 survivor enquiry
a 'suvivors asking for an independent inquiry' question
or a 'Rachel North question,

please email RachelNorthLondon AT googlemail.com and I'll send you the email and phone number of the PR firm who have very kindly offered free press officer support to the small number of survivors who have said they will speak out over the next few weeks.

I am not a 7/7 press officer and I am simply not able to cope with endless media requests whilst doing my day job. I have been under siege since March. I am not the voice of all 7/7 survivors, I am not going to pass on survivor details or invite media to attend private survivor meetings, and please remember that this is my personal blog, and not to be reproduced for commercial use. It remains my copyright. Thank you.

(Any blog readers wanting to contact me, use that address as well).

(4) If you were directly affected by the 7/7 bombings and you want to join the campaign for an independent enquiry into the London bombs, ( which is a wholly separate thing to non-campaigning, non-political support group Kings Cross United) you can get in contact with us at the first instance via RachelNorthLondon AT googlemail.com as well.

(5) If you'd like to show your support the campaign for an independent inquiry into the London bombings, you can sign the petition here or write to your MP here.

Cheers. Hope that helps clarify things



Blogger glenda said...

That's great. We call them "support groups" here in the US. People do not understand how traumatic an event like this can be unless you have gone through it yourself. Those who have gone through it can be a source of emotional support, not therapy, less formal, but good to be around.

June 20, 2006 11:36 pm  
Anonymous seth said...

hi rachel,

i was watching england vs sweden during the world cup games today-yes we have a telly in the office-and i thought of u.

i really wish there was someone who could help u out with kings cross,etc u have been working your heart out on it,and perhaps its time to lighten the load-especially with the first anniversary of 7/7 coming up.

anyway i hope england won the game and that youve had a chance to buy something nice for your nephew at harrod's.

seth :)

June 21, 2006 1:53 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Hi Glenda and Seth.

Kings Cross Utd. has been a great support group all year and is now 106 people, and I'm pleased to say we now have support ourselves - a PR firm have offered us free press officer support for 3 weeks, so I'm really pleased I can lighten the load because it has gone mental over the last few weeks.

I'm going to see my new nephew soon - haven't got his present yet but I will look for something nice - and wasn't the England game exciting! I watched with J and my dance students and we all shouted 'come on Inger-land' a lot so I am croaky today!

June 21, 2006 7:35 am  
Blogger beethoven writes said...

hi Rachel

I remember reading your diary on the BBC website in the days after the 7/7 attacks. I was on the northern line going through moorgate as the bombs were going off. It was scarey enough just to be stuck on the tube at that time let alone on the actual tube that was struck. Hope things are going well for you now.

Ironically and indirectly, the events of that day have led to me writing a blog! Have a look!

best wishes


June 21, 2006 6:04 pm  

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