A Lancaster mum and her 10-year-old son were able to face their fears following the Manchester terror attack after they attended the One Love concert in Manchester on Sunday.
Cath Hill and her son Jake had been among the crowd at last month’s Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena, when 22 people died after a suicide terrorist blew himself up as concertgoers left the venue.
It was Jake’s first ever live gig.
Speaking to Five Live after the incident, Cath recalled how they had left the arena via a side door to avoid any crush.
When she realised what had happened, she grabbed Jake, dropped what they were holding and ran “as fast as they could.”
US singer Ariana Grande organised Sunday’s One Love event at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, and was joined by artists including Take That, Justin Bieber, Coldplay and Liam Gallagher.
Cath admitted the idea of returning to a concert in Manchester was a daunting one.
She said: “The One Love Manchester concert was amazing. Jake and I had a wonderful night, which we will remember for a long time.
“It was emotional, exciting and the perfect occasion to face our fears and return to a concert venue.
“We were very anxious about going; we wanted to support the cause, see all the wonderful artists performing and be with others who had gone through what we had experienced, but the thought of returning to Manchester and being part of a big crowd at a high profile event was daunting.
“I think queuing to get in and being in a big crowd for the first time was the worst bit.
“Jake was keen to talk to one of the police officers and ask them about what safety precautions had been put in place.
“As soon as we entered the ground he found an officer to speak to. The policeman was amazing, he took time to chat to him, tell him how there were lots and lots of police and security guards at the event and that everywhere had been thoroughly checked.
“He even told him how some of the police force had had to leave the room they had been given to keep their stuff in, because Justin Bieber and the artists required more room, which made Jake smile.
“The event organisers had made sure all those who had been at the original concert had amazing seats (those under 14 had to be seated).”
Jake, when asked what was the best thing about the concert, said: “Seeing all the acts and being round all the other people who were at the concert and went through the same thing as us.”
Social worker and PhD student Cath said the worst part of the occasion was the end of the concert.
She said: “My lasting memory, apart from the great performances, was leaving the ground.
“I was really scared about this, but trying not to show it to Jake. It, of course, brought back flashbacks and we saw a few people crying as they left.
“The crowd spontaneously started singing Don’t Look Back in Anger as we walked out; it was very moving, particularly feeling the solidarity of others.
“I would like to thank the event organiser for our tickets, it was thoughtful and has really helped us to get over what we went through, especially Jake.
“I also want to thank Lancaster company Vibe Tickets who, with the help of Ticketmaster and the BBC, were able to ensure Jake and I got the tickets we had been offered.”