Chorley man who survived Manchester Arena bomb attack wins Pride of Britain Award
and live on Freeview channel 276
Martin Hibbert, from Heath Charnock, who was left paralysed from the waist down when he and his teenage daughter were among the hundreds injured in the terror attack on May 22, 2017, has been presented with a Pride of Britain Regional Fundraiser Award on Friday night’s ITV Granada Reports.
Martin was travelling back home to Chorley when was surprised as he waited to board a train in London and presented with the award by reporter Zoe Muldoon.
Each year the ITV Pride of Britain Awards celebrate those from every region of the UK who have given their time to raise thousands of pounds to help others.
Martin, whose injuries across his body at the time were so bad they were were likened to those seen in a war zone, said: “This surprise has got to sink in, I feel very happy, to even be in the top four is amazing but to win it I am just shocked.”
Martin, who was just metres away from the bomb that killed 22 people in the terror attack in May 2017, had been at the Ariana Grande concert with his daughter Eve, then aged 14.
Eve sustained a "significant" brain injury and Martin suffered a severed spinal cord from shrapnel from the bomb, which left him paralysed from the waist down.
Martin spent six months in hospital and told he would never walk again, but after meeting Gary Dawson a support officer from charity Spinal Injuries Association, he was determined to keep going and turn an appalling act of terror into a force for good.
Earlier this year he reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in a specially adapted wheelchair to raise money for the Spinal Injuries Association and to help "move mountains" for other disabled people.
Due to the altitude, Martin and his support team spent less than half an hour at the summit of Kilimanjaro - just enough time for him to scatter his mother's ashes.
Throughout the momentous challenge, he said his mum, Janice, who died in October 2021, was his inspiration.
Martin, 45, added: “It’s mixed emotions as I am trying to not think of my mum as she would be so proud as when Pride of Britain was on the TV she always made a point of watching it and to think her sons going to be on it."
"This award isn’t just for me. It’s for the surgeon who operated on me that night for 14 hours at the Salford Royal, everybody involved in the climb, all those at SIA who have supported me and to everybody who has made me who I am to be able to sit here today, this means a lot.”
Martin will find out on Monday, October 24, at the Pride of Britain Awards in London whether he has been selected to become the national fundraiser of the year.
He also hopes to raise £1 million to fund the Spinal Injuries Association, who support thousands of people with spinal cord injury across the country. So far he has raised over £800,000. But as well as raising the life-changing money, Martin hopes to change perceptions of people with disabilities.