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One year on since the horrifying events in Manchester, two girls involved in the bomb tragedy explain how it has affected them

By Kate Staniforth

Daisy Gill thought the loud bang at the concert was just a huge balloon popping near a microphone. She realised it was something a lot more sinister when she saw crowds of people running towards all the doors to get out as quickly as possible. Just seconds before the bomb was deployed more than 14,000 fans were dancing and singing along to Ariana Grande’s ‘Dangerous Woman’, no one could have predicted the horrifying events which were to follow.

The 22nd May 2017 marks the day of the tragic event. Innocent lives were lost due to a terrorist attack. The Manchester bombing took place at an Ariana Grande concert in the Manchester arena, which was attended by many young girls. A lone suicide bomber named Salman Abedi, set off a shrapnel-laden homemade bomb killing himself and 22 others. The deceased ranged from eight years to 51 years old. Just under 60 other people were critically injured during the attack.

Daisy Gill, 17 from Leeds, was at the concert. One of her friends was amongst the 22 who lost their lives, Georgina (Gina) Callander. She said: “I didn’t know how to react because I couldn’t process that it had actually happened,” She was utterly “heartbroken and extremely upset because she was such a close friend of mine, and it was just difficult to believe she was really gone.”

Daisy was in utter shock after the attack when she realised the full extent of the tragedy. She explains that she “didn’t really expect anything like that to happen.”  Experiencing an attack like this really isn’t something anyone would expect to happen to themselves. Daisy said: “I was shocked and frightened because I didn’t ever think I would actually be involved in a terrorist attack, especially at a concert.”

The bomb was set off in the foyer of the arena just as the concert had finished at 10:33pm. This is where there were many people waiting to pick up their family and friends who attended the concert. Unfortunately, the people who decided to leave the concert early to avoid the traffic following a big event such as this and the people waiting were the people who died or were injured.

She describes trying to exit the arena as “very chaotic,” thousands of people panicking trying to get to help or as far away from the danger as possible. “There were people screaming and crying,” she recalls. One of the horrible things about the rush to safety was that there were “young children who had been separated from their families in the utter chaos.”

Gina Callander was one of the first victims to be announced to have died and was a very close friend of Daisy’s. Daisy knew that Gina was taken to hospital and was badly injured by the attack, but it was a waiting game over-night to see how fatal Gina’s wounds were. Unfortunately, the injuries that Gina sustained lead to her death.

pictured left: A photo tweeted by Daisy (holding the phone) with Gina (far left).

 

After a traumatic event such as this, it can have negative effects on individuals for the rest of their lives. Becky Clarkson, 18, Nottingham, attended the concert with Daisy. She said: “I’ve not let it stop me from going out to concerts. I think anyone who attended should try to do the same as concerts are some of the best experiences you can have in my opinion. You can’t predict when something like this will happen – It could be anywhere at any time and shouldn’t stop you from doing things you want to do.”

Daisy attended the One Love Manchester concert which was put on in order to raise money for the victims of the attack with her friends Becky Clarkson, Sally Armitige and Gabby Gatewood, all of whom were present at the attack. It was very hard for all of the girls to attend another big event just 13 days after the Ariana Grande concert. Being at One Love Manchester was such an emotional yet surreal experience. Daisy felt lucky to be able to attend “such an incredible event,” but she was also “heartbroken about the reason behind it.” She said she had “so many emotions that day.”

Becky said: “I think my main emotion that day was pride. I was so proud of the concert and of the country,” Ariana performed the same songs with the same choreography and graphics “it completely overwhelmed me and I literally had tears in my eyes the whole way through whilst screaming the lyrics that had a whole new meaning.”

Moving on from this horrifying event is going to be a struggle for all the 14,000 in the arena. For Daisy the trauma of the concert was not a problem. It’s the “trauma of losing Gina,” however she had a lot of support from her friends and family as they “were all there for each other, pulling each other through.” The whole world supported those affected by the attack, there were GoFundMe pages for people who had lost a family which raised thousands.

Daisy was explaining the support that she received. It was Gina’s funeral on the 15th June 2017 in Southport, where hundreds gathered to show their support. One of Gina’s close friends was not able to attend the funeral as she couldn’t afford flights from Canada and back.  “We set up a Go fund me page to try the raise the money for our friend Dom to fly from Canada. Someone saw the post on Twitter and sent it Hayley Atwell, one of our favourite actresses that we met together, and she kindly donated the remaining £400 we needed for her to fly.” Everyone wore yellow to the funeral as it was Gina’s favourite colour, “it was very upsetting, but she couldn’t have been laid to rest any better.”

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