Woman’s celebrations in Norwich interrupted by terror attacks back home in Norway

As the horror of the atrocities in Norway unfolded last Friday there was one family in Norwich who had to cut short celebrations to check on friends and relatives in the Scandinavian country.

Ingunn Bjoru, 22, has been living in Norwich for the last four years while studying a society, media and culture degree at the University of East Anglia.

And last Friday while chaos was enveloping Miss Bjoru's homeland - following an explosion in Norway's capital, Oslo, and a massacre on an island in which at least 93 people were killed - she was celebrating her graduation at the UEA.

Miss Bjoru's parents, Tor and Astrid, were both in Norfolk to celebrate the graduation of their daughter, who works as a marketing intern for the EDP and Evening News' parent company Archant Norfolk in Norwich.

The initial news of the explosion in Oslo was of particular worry for Miss Bjoru's father, Tor, as the government finance company he works for has offices very close to where the blast caused such huge damage.


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Dozens were injured and at least seven people were killed in the car bomb blast at 3.26pm (1.26pm GMT), which blew out the windows of the Norwegian prime minister's offices and damaged the finance and oil ministries.

News soon filtered through to the Bjoru family at the UEA graduation ceremony and Mr Bjoru was clearly very concerned about colleagues in the Oslo buildings of the company he works for.

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Ingunn, of Rose Lane, Norwich, said: 'We had just finished my graduation ceremony when I got a phone call from another intern that I work with saying 'I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but have you heard about the explosion in Norway?', which we obviously hadn't yet.

'As soon as we heard we started calling family back home and called my brother, who recently moved from Oslo back to our home in Trondheim.

'They hadn't heard about it yet either because they had been watching my graduation online. They turned on the television and my brother said that the pictures just didn't look like Oslo, it looked like a country at war, so it was a really confusing time.'

Fortunately none of Miss Bjoru's family were directly affected by the day's awful events but she says social networks such as Facebook have been full of stories of how friends and their friends had been involved.

She continued: 'My sister quickly called her partner and it turned out he had been walking down the road where the explosion happened an hour before the explosion.

'He was about 20 minutes out of Oslo by that time and he said the explosion sounded really loud, like it happened right nextdoor.'

The terror back home wasn't over though, as news of the shooting on Utoeya island, around 20 miles north-west of Oslo, began to filter through around 5pm (3pm GMT).

Speculation soon spread on the internet of a gunman dressed as a policeman shooting teenagers at the camp, with eyewitnesses confirming the gunman was wearing a police uniform.

Miss Bjoru added: 'There were lots of friends of friends who have been affected and there were some people on the island that I went to high school with.

'We are such a small country, there is only about 4.8m people in Norway, and to have so many injured and killed is just horrible.

'We were all here and in a different frame of mind, toasting and celebrating my graduation. To then get calls about the bomb going off at home was just awful.'

The man who admitted carrying out the attacks, Anders Behring Breivik, was due to make his first appearance in court today.

Do you know someone from Norwich affected by the events in Norway? Call reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email david.freezer@archant.co.uk

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