A Bedfield couple who were shot and robbed during a trip to Barbados last year insist they will travel with their “heads held high” when they return to the island for the first time tomorrow.
Phil and Ann Prior were enjoying a cruise on the Caribbean last March when they were both shot. Miraculously, the couple escaped long-lasting injuries from the ordeal.
The Priors will return tomorrow after an offer from the Barbados Tourism Authority - an all expenses paid trip for a fortnight, including Twenty20 tickets to see England take on the West Indies. They will fly from Gatwick tomorrow and stay in an ‘upmarket’ apartment.
Cricket legend Sir Gary Sobers was on hand at the Queen’s Head pub in Dennington last year to hand them the invite personally. “I almost fell flat on my face,” joked Mr Prior, describing the moment he realised the former West Indies all-rounder was part of the entourage from the Barbados Tourism Authority who visited the pub.
Mr Prior told the Diss Express: “We had not made a firm decision (to accept the offer at the time) because my wife had taken a little while longer to get over the ordeal. Because I am 73, if I wake up in the morning it is a result so I was not as mentally disturbed by it.
“Don’t let these people win - I am going back with my head held high.”
Mr Prior, who described the Barbados Tourism Authority as “extremely helpful,” added: “Everybody we came into contact with (after the shooting) was very, very thoughtful.
“Whilst regretting the incident, the Barbados Tourism Authority has bent over backwards for us.”
The visit will fall almost a year to the day when the Priors’ last visit to the island turned to disaster.
Passengers on a cruise from Chile to Southampton, the couple were walking back to the ferry after a Commonwealth Day service when they were shot during a robbery on March 17 last year.
Mrs Prior had her bag stolen and was shot in the thigh, while Mr Prior was shot in the groin.
Recollecting the incident, Mr Prior said he didn’t realise he had been shot.
“I remember the sight of my wife bleeding profusely and not being able to do anything.
“There are far more people who have suffered far worse injuries than me and my wife had. In this day and age we have to understand that the unexpected does happen.”