Ilkeston teenager who escaped Tunisia terror attacks celebrates GCSEs

Millie Twells, from Ilkeston.
Millie Twells, from Ilkeston.

A teenager who was left traumatised after being caught up in the Tunisia terrorist attack last year is celebrating her GCSE results - despite missing eight months of school.

Millie Twells, 16, from Ilkeston, was separated from her family during the attack, which saw a gunman target tourists on the beach and at the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Sousse, killing 38 people in June last year.

The terrifying attack left the Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy (OIEA) pupil scared and vulnerable, but following support from her family and the school, and undergoing therapy, Millie managed to achieve three Bs and four Cs in her exams.

“When the attack happened I got separated from my family,” said Millie. “I was terrified. I didn’t know what to do, I just ran and ran to get away from it.”

Millie, her mum Zoe and stepdad Paul were one day into their holiday when the gunman attacked. They were poolside at their hotel when they heard the gunfire and saw the terrorist approaching.

The family ran for safety but got split up. Millie ended up hiding with 15 others in a room behind the reception, after running down a corridor away from the gunman - who tried unsuccessfully to get inside the room.

“It was 47 minutes of hell while the attack was taking place,” said Zoe. “But then it was another hour until we found Millie and were all reunited. It was horrific.”

The family all suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder and Zoe and Paul ended up working with Nik and Eva Speakman on the ITV programme This Morning to help them cope. Millie was unable to take part in this as she was too young , but Zoe and Paul passed on some of their coping strategies.

Millie, who still suffers from anxiety and panic attacks, added: “Tunisia really affected me. I didn’t really know how to cope with it all and so I couldn’t come back to school. I missed eight months of school but I have managed to get these results and I am so happy.”

Staff at OIEA put together a personalised programme of study for Millie to ensure she was able to complete the work for her GCSEs. Teachers met with her outside school hours and during holidays, and the school also provided an environment where she felt safe to sit her exams.

Zoe said: “I am so proud of Millie. She has done amazingly well. We are really pleased that she will be able to go on to do her A-levels now.”

Millie now plans to study English, media and sociology at Kirk Hallam Sixth Form.