Tunisia Shooting: Blitz Spirit As Brit Tourists Keep Calm And Carry On

While a mass exodus of British tourists from Tunisia continues after Friday’s beach slaughter, some are choosing to stay in defiance at terrorism.

Showing the spirit of the Blitz, Brits who were en route to the country as the massacre unfolded in Sousse are determined to enjoy their holidays, opting to keep calm and carry on.

Vicky Aspinall, 26, and her sister Beth, 19, and their partners Rick Roche and Lee Murrell, from Norwich, are staying at the Sentido Rosa Beach hotel in Skanes, just 10 miles from Sousse.

Mr Roche described how they gradually became aware of the terrible events once they landed in Tunisia.

He said: “We landed and turned our phones on and Beth had a missed call and a text from her dad saying ‘Is everyone OK?’”

Vicky said: “We didn’t know what had happened.

“Other people were being told that because of an 'incident’ they needed to get on a different coach.

"No-one mentioned terrorism. We thought it was a problem with our hotel.”

However, once they were on the coach everyone’s phones started going off and the full picture began to emerge.

Beth said: "A woman a few rows in front of us told us there had been a terror attack and seven people had been killed.

“Fifteen minutes later it had gone up to 27.”

Mr Roche, who works in security, said: "We had no idea how close it was to our hotel.

“We didn’t think much about it to start with - Tunisia’s a big place.”

Vicky said: "We realised it was quite close when we saw lots of armed police at the roundabout as we were dropping people from the affected hotels to a different location.”

Beth, who is on her first holiday without her parents, said: "Everyone at home was really stressed and worried.

“Dad asked 'Have you reached your hotel yet?’

“I thought he was just being over-protective.”

Mr Roche’s mother provided him with the facts of the terrorist attack while they watched the tragedy unfold on the news at home.

Family members were asking if the group were going to go home - but the group were defiant.

Insurance worker Vicky said: "The short answer to that was no!

“We didn’t see the point - what had happened had already happened.

"If we’d been in that hotel we would have gone home, but we’re here, we’re in the best position to make decisions.”

“They all thought that everyone was overreacting.”

Vicky said: "It feels like, because we haven’t seen the news, that the situation as it is now is being over-exaggerated.

“The incident was obviously terrible but now it’s calmer and security is very high.”

Beth said: "People feel it should be affecting our every minute…

“Occasionally, if there’s a loud noise, people will stop and listen…

“It hasn’t impacted our stay, apart from we can’t leave the hotel and we’re a bit on edge, a bit cautious.”

But she added: "The longer you stay here, the safer you feel.”

Mr Murrell, a cleaner, is on his first holiday abroad and said that while the situation was "pretty nerve-wracking”, it has not put him off travelling again.

He added: ”I still feel a bit worried but I don’t want to go home early.”

The group were full of praise for the staff on the coach and at the hotel for staying calm and being reassuring despite being obviously upset and shocked themselves.

They said the Thomas Cook rep had told them that initially more than 300 people from their hotel had put their names down to leave but in the end only 10 actually did so.

Many guests have been to Tunisia before and know how much the country’s people depend on tourism for their economy and livelihoods.

As Vicky pointed out: "These things can and do happen anywhere.”

At least 30 Britons are reported to have been killed by gunman Seifeddine Rezgui in Friday’s attack.

Pictures courtesy of PA/Rex

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