Buddhist Ceremony Comforts Grieving Mother

By Karen Attwood, PA News, Jan 5, 2005

Phuket, Thailand -- A mother said a painful goodbye to her daughter who is presumed drowned in Thailand today and said she would never forgive the British authorities for their lack of help.

Liz Jones had a Buddhist ceremony held in memory of Charlotte, 23, on the island of Racha Yai, south of Phuket, where she was the only victim of the tsunami disaster.

The Bristol University graduate was waiting for a boat on the beach with her best friend Rebecca Bate, when a giant wave hit the resort.

The two were separated in the water and Charlotte has not been seen since.

Mrs Jones, from Petersfield, Hampshire, made the heartbreaking journey to the country to spend 10 days hunting for her daughter?s body.

For the first six days, she was without the aid of diggers or a rescue team on the two-mile island until volunteers arrived from Phuket after hearing of her plight.

She told Five News: ?I have the personal utmost contempt for anyone who knew and could have done something to help and have not helped.

?I have to find a way of dealing with that, with my loss, but also the anger and contempt I feel for people who knew we were here.

?This was my daughter and she deserved an acknowledgement from the country she belongs to.?

She said she did not ?even want to live in England anymore?.

Today, Mrs Jones made the journey home without her daughter?s body.

She said she took some comfort from the Buddhist service.

?I had an image in my mind ... Charlotte was walking down a path and waving goodbye,? she said.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said he was sorry to hear the family felt they ?had been let down by the Foreign Office?.

Mr Straw said Foreign Office staff had had to deal with a ?very large number? of relatives. Overall they had responded ?absolutely magnificently?.