Tilly Smith

Tilly Smith

Tilly Smith is a British girl who, at age 10, was credited with saving nearly a hundred foreign tourists at Maikhao Beach (Thailand) by raising the alarm minutes before the arrival of the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. She learned about tsunamis in a geography lesson two weeks before the tsunami from her teacher Andrew Kearney at Danes Hill Preparatory School in Oxshott, Surrey. She recognised the receding shoreline and frothing bubbles on the surface of the sea and alerted her parents, who warned others on the beach and the staff at the hotel on Phuket where they were staying. The beach was evacuated before the tsunami reached shore, and was one of the few beaches on the island with no reported casualties.

At Danes Hill Preparatory School a cameraman was allowed to follow Tilly around for a day to find out what she normally did at school. Andrew Kearney was also interviewed at the school.

On September 9 2005 she received the Thomas Gray Special Award of The Marine Society & Sea Cadets from Second Sea Lord, Vice-Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent.

Tilly's family have declined requests to be interviewed by commercial and national broadcasters, but Tilly has appeared at the United Nations in November 2005, meeting Bill Clinton the UN Special Envoy for Tsunami Relief, and at the first year anniversary in Phuket, as part of the campaign to highlight the importance of education.

Asteroid 20002 Tillysmith has been named after her. (See "Meanings of asteroid names (20001-21000).")

In December 2005, Tilly was named "Child of the Year" by the French magazine Mon Quotidien. On the First Anniversary of the Official Tsunami Commemorations at Khao Lak, Thailand on December 26 2005, she was given the honour of closing the ceremony with a speech to thousands of spectators which read in part:quotation|"It wasn't devastation or death that won the day. It was humanity that triumphed, The shining victory of generosity, courage, love."|Tilly Smith [Citation | title = Tsunami remembrance ceremony Khaolak commemoration Andaman coastal provinces | date = 26 December 2007 | url = http://www.khaolak.net/khaolak/tsunami-commemoration.html | accessdate = 2008-03-19] .


*"Tsunami lifesaver visits UN". (Nov. 5, 2005). "New Straits Times", p. 27.
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4229392.stm "Award for tsunami warning pupil"] "BBC News" 9 September 2005, retrieved 19 March 2008
* [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1480192/Girl%2C-10%2C-used-geography-lesson-to-save-lives.html "Girl, 10, used geography lessons to save lives"] "Daily Telegraph" 1 January 2005, retrieved 16 December 2005


Other external links

* [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/01/0118_050118_tsunami_geography_lesson.html News article] from National Geographic

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