7/7 victim Thelma takes Tube for first time since 2005

Six years after being seriously injured in the 7 July bombings Thelma Stober has finally completed the journey she started on that fateful morning.

Since losing her lower leg in the terrorist explosions in 2005 she has felt too anxious to use the Tube - until now.

I met Thelma Stober five years ago.

She was a survivor of the attack on the Tube at Aldgate. A high-flying lawyer, originally from Sierra Leone, Thelma had only just returned to work after recovering from serious injuries sustained during the London bombings.

Shehzad Tanweer did not know any of his victims, including Thelma and the seven people he killed.

The consequences of his act of terror, and those of his three fellow bombers, are only now being more fully reckoned with by the 7/7 inquest.

The day before the bombings, London had secured the Olympic Games. Thelma, the senior lawyer on London's bid team, was rushing to catch the train at Moorgate station to put the finishing touches to the Olympic documents.

London was awash with optimism. Within two stops her world came crashing down.

Each of the several hundred survivors of the blasts has had to travel a personal journey of recovery with challenges every step of the way.

Deep trauma

Thelma had to learn to walk again after losing her lower leg. At first she was told she could only have a prosthetic leg which matched the skin tone of a white person.

After a battle she found a company that could provide something more in keeping with her African skin tone.

Fighting for compensation and then for the right to give evidence in person at the inquest itself have all been the challenges on the path to "normalisation".

But there are deeper traumas which many victims still face. On several occasions since that fateful day Thelma has tried to take the Tube but each time anxiety has stalled her plans.

She said: "I have tried twice to go on the train and I've never been able to do it... but I miss the hustle and bustle of the train."

This week Thelma once again set out to complete the journey she was not allowed to finish in 2005.

She started at Kings Cross where one of the bombers had caused chaos on the Piccadilly Line.

The now unfamiliar sounds and smells were unsettling from the start.

Thelma was quick to recover her composure, though, and determined to travel on the same coach she was on on 7 July 2005.

Overwhelmed by memories

As she approached Liverpool Street, Thelma turned down an offer of a seat.

She explained she was trying to faithfully recreate her last journey; part of a therapeutic approach attempting to unlock the trauma that has been circulating in her deep memory for six long years.

Less than one minute to the point where the bomb detonated and Thelma's mood visibly changed.

Image caption Thelma described facing her fears as one of her "greatest days"

As the train approached Aldgate I reminded her that she was past the point where she found herself barely alive lying on the tracks.

For several minutes as the train arrived at Aldgate station Thelma was lost in her sorrow.

Very quickly though, relief appeared to surface.

"It's a great day for me. I have finished the journey and I was able to do it. Today is one of the happiest days of my life."

Thelma raised the issue I had not dared to at the start of the journey at Kings Cross.

Osama Bin Laden was killed on the eve of this breakthrough journey. It had given her a last minute attack of nerves. It had clearly heightened her anxiety, but as it turned out, not weakened her resolve.

With the 7/7 inquest completed, a new departure beckons. Thelma's personal quest for closure and a return to normality given the added impetus she had been valiantly seeking for so long.

More on this story

Around the BBC