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Woman who lost her husband in Bali bombing reveals how her ‘perfect world was decimated’

A woman who who lost her husband in the 2002 Bali bombings has revealed it took her 18 months before she was glad she survived the attack – saying that it ‘decimated’ her ‘perfect little world’.

Polly Brooks, from Guildford, appeared on This Morning today, where she discussed getting caught up in the bombing.

The attack on a tourist area of the Indonesian island on October 12, 2002, killed 202 innocent people, among them were Polly’s first husband Dan Miller, 31, who she had married just five weeks earlier, and her best friend Annika, 30.

Polly Brooks (pictured) appeared on This Morning today, to talk about surviving the 2002 Bali bombings which killed her husband and best friend

Loss: Polly's first husband, Dan Miller (pictured) died in the terrorist attack in 2002, just five weeks after the couple got married

Loss: Polly’s first husband, Dan Miller (pictured) died in the terrorist attack in 2002, just five weeks after the couple got married

Polly was seriously injured, suffering with 43 per cent burns over her body, though at the time, she had no idea how seriously she had been hurt.

After the bombs went off, Polly was able to get out of the building, before getting trapped in a cul de sac for a couple of hours. She was able to borrow a phone from someone, and call her mother.

The horror of the Bali Bombing

At about 11pm on 12 October 2002 three bombs were detonated in Bali, two in busy nightspots – the Sari Club and Paddy’s Bar – and one in front of the American consulate.

The explosions killed 202 people, 88 of whom were Australian, and wounded hundreds more.

Carried out by terrorist organisation Jemaah Islamiyah, the attacks represent the single largest loss of Australian life due to an act of terror.

More than 30 people were eventually arrested for their involvement in the attacks.

AUSTRLAIA’S RESPONSE

In the wake of the attacks, the Australian Defence Force immediately mobilised and, just 17 hours after the blast, the first RAAF plane arrived to evacuate injured Australians. In the largest aero-medical evacuation since the Vietnam War, at least 66 badly injured people were flown to Darwin for treatment.

The military then assisted in secondary transfers of people from Darwin to medical centres around the country.

Source: National Museum of Australia

Speaking to Phil and Holly, she said: ‘At that point, I had no idea how seriously injured I was, and yes I was burnt, but I didn’t want to worry [my parents]. 

‘So I was just worried about Dan, Annika, and the others, and I was like just ring their parents [and see] if they’ve called home.

‘Because I’d got out. I mean, obviously I could see what happened but there was hope for me that they’d got out, and you certainly the first few days afterwards… that they could well have survived.’

But as the days went on without hearing anything from her husband and friends, Polly realised the chances of them surviving was low.

She continued: ‘I knew after day four or five, that if you haven’t heard from them by then, that it probably wasn’t going to be good news. 

‘And I think it was about 12 days by the time every single one of my friends and Dan were confirmed as not having made it, so I think that when… the realisation that I was the only survivor really kicked it.’

Upon realising she was the only survivor, Polly said she felt unlucky, explaining: ‘I felt like they were lucky because they just gone. 

‘They didn’t have to deal with the pain, the bereavement… I had to deal with funerals. 

‘I had to deal with moving my life from Hong Kong to England. I had to get better, I had to cope. 

‘I had to rebuild my life from it being completely fantastic to shattered into this disaster zone.

‘And it took me probably a year to 18 months before I was actually glad that I had survived.’

In the 20 years since the bombings, Polly has gone on to remarry, and has had two children with her husband Andy Brooks.

She also set up a charity, Dan’s funds for burns, which offers practical support to burns victims, and has raised more than £2.5 million, earning an MBE for her efforts.

Speaking about the charity, Polly said: ‘When the bombings happened, my perfect little world was obviously decimated and my innocence was taken.

Devastating: The 2002 atrocity at Paddy's Bar and the Sari Club killed 202 innocent people. Pictured: Buildings and cars on fire following the attack

Devastating: The 2002 atrocity at Paddy’s Bar and the Sari Club killed 202 innocent people. Pictured: Buildings and cars on fire following the attack

Aftermath: Flowers and wreaths laid on wrecked car in area affected by the deadly bomb blast

Aftermath: Flowers and wreaths laid on wrecked car in area affected by the deadly bomb blast

‘When someone does something quite evil towards you, your belief in everything changes, so you believe that bad things can happen, that there are bad people.’

She added: ‘When I reached out to try and do something positive, because everything was so black and so negative, the love that I got and the support –  people went off and raised loads of money for me and friends of Dan and all the others that died – little by little, it helped put me back together.’

Polly added that it had been difficult to carry on with the charity when her two children were young, and that she’d often had to work at night. 

‘But when I help other burn survivors who are in that moment where their lives have just suddenly been turned upside down, and I get the thanks or I can see what it does and helps them it makes me carry on,’ she said.

‘The reality is that I survived, therefore, I live for them. 

‘I have to. I don’t have any choice. I have to raise money. I have to make something good.’

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk