When a suicide bomber detonated his explosives at the Manchester Arena in May he killed 23 people and injured scores more, including Wakefield mum and dad Susan and Nigel Hilditch. Now Susan, the worst injured of the two, has been given help by Wakefield Rotary Club who have paid for a special chair to speed her recovery.
A cheque for £450 was handed over today by the club’s service projects chairman, Dr Neale Clark. The money comes from the Manchester Arena Families Trust which was set up by Rotarians in the North West England District 1285.
The couple who live in Rishworth Close, Wrenthorpe, were waiting in the foyer for their daughter, 17-year-old Emily, when the bomb when off. Emily, who was in the throng about to leave the arena, heard the blast and at that point did not know what had happened to her parents, both of whom suffered severe soft tissue shrapnel wounds to their lower legs. They were fortunate enough to be helped by a doctor who was in the crowd.
Both had three operations in five days at Manchester Royal Infirmary. Nigel, 50, said: “Everyone in the hospital was fantastic. It was unbelievable.”
Susan, 54, has now had four operations on her legs, including tendon and ligament grafts as well as skin grafts. Her legs swell after she has been on them some time and the support chair and footstool which has been funded by Rotary was recommended by her physiotherapists to help reduce the swelling and boost her recovery.
Susan said: “I still feel in shock that we were there. It’s hard when you remember what went on around you. We were really lucky that that doctor was there to help us.”
Nigel, a retail manager who will not be returning to work until January, often finds it hard. He said: “Sometimes you can forget about it but at other times it comes in waves.”
The bomber chose a packed Ariana Grande concert at which to make his attack. The singer performed at a fundraising tribute concert in June which Emily could have attended, but she chose not to because she is still coming to terms with the tragedy.
Dr Clark said: “This family has suffered a lot of trauma and we’re delighted that we’ve been able to help by finding Rotary funding for the special chair, which was not available on the NHS.”
Click here for details of sources of support available for Manchester Attack Victims