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Left to Right : Willsher, Lillie and Jackson Weekes who died in the Villaggio mall fire.
Left to Right : Willsher, Lillie and Jackson Weekes who died in the Villaggio mall fire.

Emotional letter from parents of Doha mall fire triplets

The parents of Lillie, Jackson & Willsher Weekes, the triplets who died in the Villaggio Mall fire, have penned an emotional letter about the tragedy.

To the People of the State of Qatar and Friends Around the World:

Lillie, Jackson & Willsher Weekes were true Kiwi kids; born prematurely in New Zealand, after eight weeks in intensive care they moved to their new home in Qatar. In two short years, we travelled the world together, inseparable as a family. We went to Greece, UAE, Thailand, Bali, Hong Kong & of course again to New Zealand but always back to Doha, their family home.

Everywhere Lillie, Jackson & Willsher went, people we didn't know would come up to us and small crowds would gather. As parents this was at times amusing and at times quite scary (as we wanted to protect our children) but the triplets always made people so happy it seemed unfair not to share the happiness they brought with others.

This week, a terrible tragedy happened in Doha, a tragedy that touched not just our family, but many others too. To those families, our hearts reach out.

We also want to acknowledge and thank the many people from around the world - most of whom we have never met - who have sent messages of condolence and strength. We thank Lillie, Jackson & Willsher for yet again bringing people together to be here in our time of need when they cannot be by our side though they are always in our hearts.

We want to say a special thanks to all the people of Qatar, to His Highness the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim Al Thani who took the time to visit us at our home, to the brave emergency people, two of whom gave their lives to save others, our friends, the people who have called and texted, the hundreds of people who came to Aspire and gave us strength - Qatari & expat standing side by side together as one; so many nationalities bonded together makes a true community.

From our hearts and from the hearts of Lillie, Jackson & Willsher we now want only one thing from this tragic day and that is to learn. We want an understanding of what actually went wrong and how to ensure it never happens again. We ask that people allow the experts commissioned to investigate the fire be given the time to do their jobs and gather their facts and to truly understand the issues however long that may take. Yes, we all want answers and accountability, but we need to know what really happened and an extra week or even a month if needed to find out the truth will not hurt. It won't bring back our loved ones, but it will help to ensure this can never happen again. We also ask, because an event like this has never happened before in Qatar, that the Government seek the support from international fire and emergency experts (who sadly have had to deal with similar tragedies overseas) to work alongside the team here to gather the facts.

It saddens us to read, to see and to hear misguided speculation and innuendo about the fire in Villagio and it saddens us that it is being misused to create blame and reflect badly on our adopted home in Qatar. We hope people will refrain from criticising the growth and ambition of this friendly country that we have called home for five years.

We ask for patience and to allow the experts the time they need to find and share their answers. Through knowledge, we will make progress. This process should not be about blame regardless of the hurt we all may feel now. This must be about learning so that no person need feel this pain again.

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