25 years since the Brighton bomb

13 Oct 2009

It's amazing to realise it's 25 years since the IRA blew up the Grand Hotel during the Conservative Party conference in 1984.

 I was in the Grand that night, drinking in the bar with a group of fellow BBC journalists. Luckily, I decided to call it a night about an hour before the bomb went off. That meant I was back in my own hotel a few hundred yards along the seafront by the time the explosion happened.

My colleagues (hardier drinkers than me) stayed on for one last drink. Thankfully, they too had left just before the bomb went off (it was fortunate that the bar had closed by the time the bomb detonated or the casualties would have been much higher). My colleagues had only gone a short distance when the explosion happened. They sobered up fast and - of course - worked all night.

I'm sorry to admit that by this time I was slumbering so solidly that I did not even hear the explosion and the first I knew about the biggest story of the year that had happened so close to me was when I switched on the radio in the morning!

 I did however manage to get the first few words with Prime Minister Thatcher ('We carry on! We carry on!) as she entered the conference hall the next morning. 

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