Silent tribute to victims of Tunisian beach massacre

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Staff in council buildings and offices in Blackpool will stand in silence on Monday to mark the first anniversary of the death of a resort couple murdered in last year’s beach massacre in Tunisia.

South Shore couple Denis and Elaine Thwaites were both killed 12 months by Tunisian student Seifeddine Rezgui, 23.

The gunman, who has links to terror organisation Islamic State, opened fire on the couple and other holidaymakers in Sousse, leaving 38 dead, including 30 Britons.

Now, a year on, council staff are to mark their passing and there are plans to unveil a permanent memorial tothe couple later this year.

Coun Graham Cain, cabinet secretary at Blackpool Council, said: “A year ago Blackpool residents, Denis and Elaine Thwaites, went on holiday and sadly never returned.

“As a council we will mark the anniversary of the devastating attacks in Tunisia with a minute’s silence in all of our buildings on Monday .

“We have been in touch with Mr and Mrs Thwaites’ daughter and son-in-law throughout the year, they have thanked us and the people of Blackpool for all our support over the last 12 months. We have pledged that we will assist them to create a memorial for their parents near to the seafront.

“I’m sure that the local residents will agree with this gesture and share in my best wishes as the family mark a very sad anniversary.”

Lindsey Clifford, daughter of the Thwaites, said: “My mum and dad, Elaine and Denis Thwaites were tragically ripped apart from us on June 26, 2015.

“They went on holiday and never came home. We constantly ask ourselves why them? But there are no answers.

“They were beautiful, kind people, who lit up every room they embraced. They made me so proud, and were truly loved and liked by all their family and friends.

“They had friends in many places in the UK and around the world, who always say ‘they were just the best!’ It just showed by the tributes and the warming messages of support we received, which have helped us get through this last 12 months so much.

Mr and Mrs Thwaites married in Birmingham in 1974.

Mr Thwaites was a professional footballer who played for Birmingham City.

They moved to Blackpool five years later.

Mrs Clifford said: “They always worked so hard throughout their lives to have a happy retirement and enjoy their holidays. Dad joked that he would rather stay at home and in the garden but when he got to his hotel, he was always very happy as the sun was shining.

“They were my rocks and my best friends. As an only child, mum and dad were my world and they gained a son in Danny when we married.

“Myself, Danny, our family and friends are completely devastated and may never move on from this, but we will try to rebuild our lives and find a new normal, the best we can.

“With mum and dad in our hearts, we will always find the comfort we need. The pain will never go away.”