London Anglican, October 23 2006

October 24, 2006

A brother’s tribute to his sister travels from London to Rwanda.


On 28 December 2000, Charlotte Wilson, a 27-year-old VSO teacher in Rwanda, was killed when the bus she was travelling on was ambushed in neighbouring war-torn Burundi. Twenty others died with Charlotte, including her Burundian fiancé.

In London, Charlotte attended the Church of Saint Alban the Martyr in Holborn. The vicar, Father Howard Levett, says Charlotte was an unassuming, sensitive, yet lively and highly intelligent young lady. She joined his adult confirmation class in 1995 and became a very faithful communicant member of the church thereafter.

Charlotte had hoped to get married in Saint Alban’s. Instead, Father Levett conducted her funeral on 18 January 2001. The packed variety of peoples and cultures that attended were ample testimony to the remarkable influence Charlotte had on many people during her short lifetime.

Charlotte’s brother, Richard Wilson, has written a book called Titanic Express, the name of the bus his sister was travelling on when she was killed. Published this summer, it records his meticulous efforts to bring the killers of Charlotte to justice. It is also a wonderful tribute to his sister and a very honest account of his own journey towards understanding and forgiveness.

Thanks to a chance meeting between Richard Wilson and Ann Peterken, who worships at St James Church in Hampton Hill, a copy of Titanic Express has reached the secondary school in Shyogwe where Charlotte taught science. Ann went on a CMS visit to Rwanda in late September and stayed in Shyogwe for five days, the very place where Charlotte had been so happy and fulfilled.

In the photo, Ann is presenting Titanic Express to the headmistress, the Revd Immaculée Nyiransengimana, beneath a framed painting of Charlotte in her choral attire for the Shyogwe church choir. Immaculée worked with Charlotte and she and many other people in Shyogwe remember Charlotte with love.

Titanic Express by Richard Wilson (ISBN 0-8264-8502-2) is published by Continuum. See for press reviews and other information.


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