Eden family caught up in Sri Lanka bombing aftermath

Date: Friday 26th April 2019
Scott Edwards in Sri Lanka.
Scott Edwards in Sri Lanka.

AN Eden family on a five-month trip around the world have been caught up in the aftermath of the horrific Easter Sunday suicide attacks in Sri Lanka.

The bombings killed at least 250 people and wounded more than 500, with the country now placed in a state of emergency.

Keira Armstrong and her partner, Scott Edwards, have been staying around two hours away from Colombo, where some of the atrocities targeting churches and luxury hotels took place.

The couple live in Culgaith with their daughters, Anya, aged nine, and seven-year-old Eliza, but are on the first leg of what promised to be a dream tour of Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Hawaii, the US and Canada.

Keira works for the Environment Agency while Scott is commercial manager at Cumbrian Homes.

The family landed in Sri Lanka on 1st April and spent some time in Colombo. They are now at Akarula Beach in Southern Province.

They had been due to travel today to Nagombo, where another of the bombings took place, before flying out of Colombo tomorrow. However, they have been forced to change their plans. Speaking from Sri Lanka this week, Keira said: “A curfew is in place each night — I think as a precautionary measure rather than them expecting more attacks. It’s very unsettling and terribly sad.

“The Sri Lankan people are so wonderful, my heart breaks for them. All the locals here are watching the news and talking about it.”

Keira and Scott, who are volunteering in a conservation project and have also been teaching English to local children, have tried to shield their daughters from news of the attacks as much as possible but said it had been difficult.

“All of our fellow volunteers have obviously been emotionally impacted by it, as have we. Our hosts are shocked and saddened and have been watching it a lot on the news and talking about it. Our girls are aware that some bad things have happened but we have simply tried to reassure them.”

Keira added that prior to the terrorist attacks their experience had been nothing but positive. She urged people not to let the bombings put them off visiting Sri Lanka in the future.

“These attacks don’t define Sri Lanka, just like the London and Manchester attacks don’t define the UK. Don’t let the actions of a few small-minded people put you off visiting this amazing country,” she said.

Also affected by the attacks has been Keswick Cricket Club professional Geeth Kumara. Only hours after the Keswick team finished playing on Sunday did the news of the atrocities break. Members were immediately in contact with Geeth, whose home city is Columbo.

Keith Richardson, of Keswick Cricket Club, said: “While expressing great sadness and shock at the full horror of events in Colombo and other locations in the country we were relieved to hear that Geeth and his family were okay.”

Geeth is now in his eight season with the Keswick team. He is one of 10 professional Sri Lankan cricketers playing in the Cumbria Cricket League this season.

Only recently, the Keswick club’s head coach, Mark Cameron, and his wife Sue holidayed in Sri Lanka and were welcomed by Geeth and his family to their home in Colombo.