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SB Voices: Terror will never triumph over our hospitality industry

Almost a week on from the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack, we send love to the city’s hospitality sector and all those affected.

Tributes to those who died in the London Bridge and Borough Market attack

The London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack that unfolded last Saturday brought an overwhelming wave of shock to our corner of London. Almost a week on, the disbelief at the indiscriminate violence has turned to anger and deep sadness at all the lives lost and irreversibly changed.

Rooted in the trauma is a realisation that this senseless attack seemed to deliberately target the hospitality sector, the types of bars and restaurants we all frequent for work and leisure. As any visitor to Borough Market will know, the area is a vibrant, bustling hub of pubs, quick eateries, food stalls, more formal restaurants, and bars, each packed with guests from across the world. Friends, families and colleagues queue to get into renowned diners at all times of the day and night. The bars and pubs are ever-popular, drawing crowds of patrons who spill out into the street, pint or G&T in hand, to mingle and converse, and just enjoy a good night out.

Borough Market represents London hospitality at its best, and it is heartbreaking that our way of life – our freedom to celebrate and congregate, to work and socialise and to make merry – has come under such attack. Stories have emerged of everyday heroes, bartenders, waiters, fellow guests, who last week responded to the terror by putting themselves in harm’s way to save others, some even paying the ultimate price. And we hear of the actions of the emergency services too, who responded so incredibly quickly with immense bravery. It’s these people and their strength of spirit that we need to celebrate, remember and hold on to.

I want to encourage readers in London and beyond to take a moment this weekend to pop into your local pub, bar or restaurant. Maybe you’re going anyway for work, or there’s a pre-arranged night out planned. Or perhaps it’s an intentional trip to take a small stand against this brutal hate. I think one of the best ways to respond to such a senseless attack is to carry on as normal, and to continue with a bolstered sense of strength and defiance. I firmly believe that love wins over hate, and following that harrowing event I believe we can show that love by getting out there despite our grief and sadness, and yes, even fear.

Our bar industry is dynamic, creative, and it is fuelled by people. The camaraderie between host and guest, between friends on a night out and between colleagues is what brings this sector to life. It’s those bonds that were targeted last week, and those relationships that we need to nurture in times of pain. London is a sparkling city, bursting with life and energy, and full of communities that not be cowed by terror. Let’s get out there and collectively show some love to the amazing hospitality sector and those who work in it.

The British Red Cross has opened an Solidarity Fund to support those caught up in the recent terror attacks in the UK. To find out more or to donate, click here.

Our thoughts are with all those affected by recent tragic events.

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