Eye centre memorial to July 7 bomb victim

First published in News by

The life of a Hampstead Garden Suburb woman killed in the 7/7 bombings is being commemorated with the opening of a children's eye care centre in India.

The Miriam Hyman Children's Eye Care Centre (MHCECC), in the north-east Indian state of Orissa, opened on July 3 in memory of Miriam Hyman, who died in the Tavistock Square explosion on July 7, 2005, at the age of 32.

Mavis Hyman, Ms Hyman's mother, said the family decided to donate £100,000 to equip the eye centre, which is part of the L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) in Bhubaneswar, because of her daughter's artistic ability and generosity of spirit.

"Miriam was a very gifted artist and loved the countryside," she said. "We feel she would not have been able to appreciate art and been able to create it without her eyesight. It was an extremely precious gift.

"Miriam painted for the sake of giving other people pleasure, so this was very in keeping with her values. Plus the eye centre is in India, where people attach a great deal of importance to connecting with one another, and that is also in keeping with her principles.

"She was so caring and vibrant. Her art reflected her personality completely. If she could do anything do help anyone, she would."

Esther Hyman, Miriam's sister, added: "We have made something positive come out of the events of 7/7, which is a fitting legacy for my sister, a woman who was so positive herself."

By donating this money, from compensation payments and donations to the Miriam Hyman Memorial Trust, the family hopes to raise awareness of the high incidence of avoidable childhood blindness in developing countries.

Of the eight million blind people in India, about one million are aged under 16. But chairman and founder of LVPEI, Dr G N Rao, says 50 per cent of childhood blindness is treatable or preventable.

"MHCECC is a pioneering project for children's eye health in eastern India," he added. "It will offer world class services to children from underserved and economically underprivileged sections for all eye problems.

"In addition, it will also become a major training and research centre in this field in the years to come."

Ms Hyman, a freelance picture researcher from Holyoake Walk, was travelling to work at Canary Wharf when she was told by her agency not to come in.

She left King's Cross Tube station and, amid the chaos following the explosions, sat down on a pavement at 9.45am to call her father and tell him she was fine. Police believe she died minutes later in the bus bomb in Tavistock Square.

Visit miriam-hyman.com for more information about MHCECC and the Miriam Hyman Memorial Trust.

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