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'I'm in a club I never wanted to join.' Martine Wright on surviving London's 7/7 bombings.

On July 7, 2005, Martine Wright was running late for work.

The previous evening she’d been celebrating with colleagues after hearing the news that the city of London, where she’d been born and bred, would host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“I pressed my snooze button and then ran for my train,” Martine told fitness influencer Alice Liveing on her podcast, Give Me Strength.

She explains that she had to change her route that morning due to signal failures on her regular train. So she ran up the escalator, slightly hungover, and jumped on the circle line train that was pulling in.

“I sat there and put my head in the paper, reading everything about what was going to happen in 2012 with the Olympics and Paralympics coming to London,” she says. “I was just reading every single inch of this paper… I remember thinking, ‘I’ve got to get tickets to this, I’ve got to get tickets.'”

She paid no heed to her fellow passengers.

At exactly 8.49am, as the train was heading towards Aldgate, there was an explosion.

Martine didn’t know it then, but a terrorist standing a few feet away had detonated a suicide bomb. It was one of four that would go off that day in the city, ultimately killing 52 people. The attacks, of course, became known as the ‘7/7 bombings’.

“I just thought it was a crash,” Martine says. “I can’t remember any sound… but I remember a big, white flash in front of my eyes.”

When the light went, Martine says she was sat in something that no longer resembled a train carriage. “It was just smoke everywhere and electrical and screams.”

Martine says she will forever be part of the '7/7 Club'. Image: Getty.

Martine had been swung round 90 degrees, meaning the bomb had impacted her on both sides, severely injuring both of her legs.

Her life was saved by an off-duty policewoman, Liz Kenworthy, who Martine now refers to as her 'guardian angel'.

"She gave me tourniquets to put round my legs. This was all very surreal, I was still conscious at the time," she says. "I don't remember the pain."

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What Martine does remember is the trying to get a message to her family that she was okay. "The irony was that I wasn't okay," she tells Liveing. "I was on the verge of losing my life."

Martine was the last survivor to be rescued from the mangled carriage. She had lost 80 per cent of the blood in her body and had to be revived five times on the way to the hospital. She was in a coma for eight days.

When she regained consciousness, it was to be told that both her legs had been amputated above the knee. She was the most severely injured female survivor of all four attacks.

"You do think, 'why me? why me?'" she says. "I felt like my life was over. I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror."

She recalls,"'I remember my mum holding my head in her hands as I cried 'I've got no legs, I've got no legs'."

Her mum replied, "But Martine, you're still here."

Martine says the support of her friends, family and her partner, Nick, helped her through, as did other survivors.

"I call it the '7/7 Club'," she says. "It's a club that you would never, ever want to belong to but as a result of belonging, you have this deep strength and understanding and respect and love for the people that were involved that day."

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In 2016, Martine was awarded Order of the British Empire. Image: Getty.

Martine spent over a year recovering in the Royal London Hospital, needing several major operations before she learned to walk again using prosthetic legs.

While many of the other victims she met in the hospital went back to their old lives after they recovered, Martine says she couldn't.

"I thought, I've got to go off and discover who I am again," she says.

Martine went to South Africa and learned to fly a plane. "It was all about rediscovering myself and concentrating on things I could do," she explains.

After that, she says, her belief in the future was 'huge' and she wanted another challenge.

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In 2008, she was invited to go along to a Paralympic potential day where she could try out lots of different sports. She fell in love with sitting volleyball, and began playing for a local club. A year later, she tried out for Great Britain's first ever women's sitting volleyball team – and, of course, she made it in.

"The power of sport has completely healed me," she says. "Sport has given me so much on a physical, emotional and psychological level."

Martine and her team excelled and ended up competing in the London 2012 Paralympic Games – something she believes was her destiny.

"I believe that [the 7/7 bombings] was the start of a journey I was always supposed to make," she says. "I feel like I've done a huge circle from reading that paper that morning to then... 30 seconds later the explosions happens. And me just before that, thinking 'I'm going to get tickets to this.'"

Martine wears the number seven on her volleyball jersey, in honour of the 52 victims who died that day. "I decided to embrace the number seven, to make the number seven my lucky number," she says.

Martine in action on the court at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Image: Getty. 

Since the attacks, as well her incredible sporting achievements, Martine has married partner Nick, and they have a son, Oscar, now nine.

She says one of her proudest moments was telling him she was going to be awarded and MBE for her bravery.

"Oscar cannot wait to tell people that his mum is a paralympian and that I've got robot legs," she says.

When asked on the podcast by Liveing what strength looks like to her, Martine says: "Strength is that love, support and belief. That's what strength is."

"It's that belief that things will get better. It's that number seven on my shirt and what that represents. It represents the 52 people who died that day.

"I think about them everyday."

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