9/11's British victims remembered by family and friends

Neil Cudmore and Dinah Webster
Image caption Neil Cudmore and Dinah Webster met while working in Hong Kong

Ten years after the horrors of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the families and friends of those killed that day are still carrying the trauma and pain of their loss.

Among the 67 Britons killed was Gavin Cushny from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.

His best friend for the previous 29 years was Joyce Lewis, whom he met at the University of St Andrews, where he was studying classics and philosophy.

Joyce describes the 47-year-old Scot as "very intelligent, very funny, loved arguing, and loved getting out and doing things".

She explains that he actually nearly survived the attack on the World Trade Center.

"Six weeks after 9/11 his body was identified on the second floor of the building, along with some firefighters. He'd been killed by falling masonry.

"So he almost did get out - I think he didn't make it all the way to his floor and sensed that he should turn around and get out the building. He had a fantastic sense of self-preservation."

Gavin's love for America had seen him move there in 1982, after his graduation. He later became an American citizen.

"He had a lot of American friends at St Andrews and he was very drawn to American people," Joyce said. "He liked their sense of optimism."

Wedding plans

Gavin took a maths degree and began working for banks in their computer departments.

In 2000, he began working for Cantor Fitzgerald, a capital markets investment bank based on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center's north tower.

"He called me on 8 September to say he was getting married in October and inviting me to the wedding.

"So he certainly would have been married and he probably would have started a family. He was great with kids, and my own children adored him.

"Gavin would have had a happy family life and would have been a great father.

"I think he would have moved out to the west coast of America. I think it would have given him a sense of freedom. He loved New York, but he was ready to do something new."

Joyce said she could imagine Gavin setting up a business "somewhere like Los Angeles, maybe doing something with computers.

Image caption There were 67 Britons killed during the attacks on the World Trade Center

"He'd probably have been a consultant for companies, creating great websites for them. He also took acting classes and he would probably have done more acting."

Joyce says she did not attend his funeral on the Isle of Lewis because she was too upset.

"On the anniversary this year I will feel total sadness and a huge sense of loss. No anger, more like a kind of horrible emptiness that Gavin - who was extraordinary to me but also just a person who wanted to have a great life - died in such an extraordinary global event.

"It's always a day when it only makes sense to think of Gavin and remember him and be glad that I knew him for as long as I did."

Joyce says she will continue her annual ritual this year of leaving flowers in Gavin's memory at the 9/11 memorial at the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square in London.

'Gregarious and popular'

Neil Cudmore died in the north tower of the World Trade Center, having arrived there for a conference which started at 0830 in the Windows on the World restaurant on the tower's top floors. The first aircraft hit at 0846.

The 39-year old, born in Greenwich and raised in Essex, was killed along with his partner, Dinah Webster, 49, who was from Dorset. The couple both worked in publishing for Risk Waters Group.

Neil's father Jim Cudmore, 74, lives in Little Houghton in Northamptonshire. He describes his eldest son as a "gregarious, popular, very social man who loved meeting people".

"One of his lifelong passions was fishing," Jim said. "He fished from a young boy. Wherever he lived, he could escape the pressure of his life by spending time alone on a river.

"He did love the finer things in life, but he also loved a couple of pints in a country pub and long walks in the countryside. He was ambitious and competitive, but he never let it get the better of him and never stopped being a gentleman."

Neil had met Dinah while working for Risk Waters in Hong Kong, where he was posted in 1996. The two were later posted to New York in January 2000, where Neil was the company's marketing director and Dinah its advertising manager.

The company's offices were in the SoHo district, a safe distance away from the twin towers, but the conference appointment on September 11 meant both Neil and Dinah were caught up in the terrorist attack.

Image caption Gavin Cushny was best friends with Joyce Lewis for nearly 30 years

They had announced their engagement while working in Las Vegas the week before 9/11.

Jim says that the anger he initially experienced has long since dispersed.

"What anger I did have was not particularly aimed at the terrorists who carried out the attacks - they were merely puppets - but against those who financed them. After all, without funds from likely Middle East sources, the attacks in the USA would not have taken place.

"My emotions are always heightened approaching each 9/11 anniversary and although this year's 10th anniversary is an important landmark it is, in reality, no different to any other.

'Dream fulfilled'

When thinking about their possible future lives, Jim is certain that Neil and Dinah would have started a family, and probably branched out into a business of their own together.

"Time was against them for having children, as Dinah was in her late 40s - although she already had a daughter, Zoe - and they were talking about adopting a child.

"Neil was desperate to have children, and he loved his nephews and nieces. Any child they had would not have been robbed of love and affection."

Aside from a property in America's Long Island, Neil had already bought a cottage in Dorset, and Jim believes that it "wasn't his plan to work into old age - I think he would have retired back to the UK if an opportunity arose.

"Dorset is where Dinah's mother and father live and Neil would have wanted to return there, with all the opportunities to go fishing in that area."

Neil was not destined to transform his cottage into a family home - but his youngest brother Keith has done just that, moving in some years ago with his wife, who in January of this year gave birth to twins.

"If Neil is able to see all that, he'll be pleased that the cottage is now a family home," Jim said. "He'll be delighted to see his dream fulfilled."

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