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Millions of Brits fall silent to mark London Bridge terror attack anniversary

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MILLIONS of Brits have today fallen silent to mark the anniversary of the London Bridge attack, as the PM praised the capital’s resolve to crush ISIS “cowards”.

Across the country, the eight victims of the brutal terror rampage, including Australian women Sara Zelenak and Kirsty Boden, were remembered with flowers, tears, and an inspiring show of defiance.

At the site of the atrocity, a throng of families and friends affected by the horror lay flowers and notes at the Southwark Needle, ahead of a minute’s silence at 4.30pm.

The sombre crowd then broke out into a spontaneous round of applause as the service was brought to a close.

The group were joined by religious leaders, politicians and emergency services, many of whom who had joined the earlier commemoration service at Southwark Cathedral.

While many wore black, many chose to wear bright colours in a show of defiance as bells from the Cathedral rang out.

The names of those killed in the London Bridge terror attack were read out ahead of the minute’s silence, as many family members were brought to tears as they stood at the site sick terrorists unleashed their horror attack.

The tragedy unfolded on the evening of June 3, 2017, when three jihadists drove a van into pedestrians at 50mph on London Bridge.

Wearing stab-proof vests, they then attacked revellers around Borough Market with hunting knives at random, killing eight people and injuring 48.

Families travelled from across the world for the commemoration event.

The silence — which was marked by millions across the country — was followed by a strong message of hope, as #LondonUnited was beamed onto the bridge at midnight.

Londoners, Brits and tourists of all faiths have come together to condemn the attacks.

In the crowd was Jermaine Bernard, a young man who had rushed to help a German tourist badly injured on the fateful night.

The 26-year-old had been walking across the bridge with friends when they saw the van careering into a path.

Even now, the memories give the young man goosebumps.

Speaking today just yards from the tragedy, Jermaine said: “We saw the van come onto the path, I thought it had lost control.

“But when I saw it keep going, my senses went to high alert. “I started to run away but out of the corner of my eye, I saw the van come past me. “The van came across the path and hit a lady from Germany, it knocked her eight or nine feet in the air.”

The young man, of East London, said despite his terror at the unfolding violence, his natural instinct was to stop and help her.

Only knowing her first name, Regina, Jermaine said he helped the woman with her injuries as they called emergency services.

But he has not seen her since the fateful night — saying he would one day want to know how she is.

And he praised the city for coming together today with a message of love.

Heider Reidha of campaign group Turn to Love was also among the crowd, saying he wanted to share the message of love and unity.

Speaking to the Sun Online, he said the Muslim community had been shocked by the terror attack that rocked London.

He said: “This is about showing love and unity.

“It’s not about Muslims, it’s about evil people doing harm to innocent people.”

The group has gathered in shirts emblazoned with Turn to Love message, as well as signs and placards saying #lovewillwin and #isiswilllose.

Among the crowds are those with flowers and messages of hope — with the stories of the lives lost touching even those who never met them.

One woman, who did not want to be named, said she had brought flowers to remember the lives lost, with her friends directly impacted by the tragedy.

She said: “Seeing all the signs and posters are amazing.

“It’s about people coming together and showing the world we are stronger than ever.”

Theresa May PM, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joined families and friends of victims at the service this afternoon.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick also took part, leaving a heartfelt message to those affected by the tragedy.

Lion Roy Larner — hailed a hero for fighting off knife-wielding jihadis during the terror attack — was also at the service.

Wearing Millwall cufflinks, the brave footy fan told the Sun Online: “I had a few tears in there.

“I just hope it never happens again.”

The footy fan was even stopped by those who had attended the service, with one man stopping him to shake his hand saying: “I’m Millwall too.”

Roy said: “There are still bad nights.

“But I’m getting there.”

Candles were lit by relatives of the victims during the private ceremony, before an olive tree — known as the Tree of Healing — was planted in the cathedral grounds using compost from floral tributes left on the bridge in the aftermath of the murders last year.

The Prime Minister earlier spoke of the “stories of courage” which emerged from the attack.

She described it as a “cowardly attempt to strike at the heart of our freedoms by deliberately targeting people enjoying their Saturday night with friends and family”.

Mrs May said: “Today we remember those who died and the many more who were injured, and also pay tribute to the bravery of our emergency services and those who intervened or came to the aid of others.

“The many stories of courage demonstrated that night will always stay with me — such as Ignacio Echeverria, who died after confronting the terrorists with the only thing he had, his skateboard, and Geoff Ho, who spent almost two weeks in hospital after being stabbed in the neck as he shielded his friends.”

Those killed in the attack were Canadian Christine Archibald, 30, James McMullan, 32, from Hackney, Frenchmen Alexandre Pigeard, 26, Sebastien Belanger, 36 and Xavier Thomas, 45, Australians Kirsty Boden, 28 and Sara Zelenak 21, and Spaniard Ignacio Echeverria, 39.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and all three attackers were shot dead by police.

Earlier, speaking outside Southwark Cathedral, Mayor Sadiq Khan said the city would “remain defiant” in the face of the atrocity.

“Our response shows what an amazing city we are,” he said.

“A year on, while our thoughts and prayers are for those who were injured and still affected we remain defiant and we remain united.”

Airport style security was in force for Southwark Cathedral, with those attending the private service asked to present their invite before being frisked by officers.

Police also kept up a visible presence, with dozens of officers securing the area and operating airport style security for those walking past.

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