Survivor's tribute on third anniversary of Manchester Arena attack

On the third anniversary of the Manchester Arena bombing one teenager from Cumbria, who was there, is raising money for a mental health charity.

Chloe Allinson, 15, from Lazonby, was planning on visiting Manchester as part of her recovery process. But because of the coronavirus outbreak, she has instead decided to walk 99.5 miles around her village - the distance between her home and the arena.

She had hoped to raise £100 for a local charity, but more than £1,000 has been donated. It will go to Carlisle Eden Mind - an organisation which helped her come to terms with the aftermath of the 22 May 2017.

Lazonby has rallied round Chloe to complete her challenge. Credit: ITV News

Three years ago, Salman Abedi slaughtered 22 people and injured hundreds of others when he detonated a bomb at Manchester Arena, aided by his younger brother Hashem Abedi, back in Libya.

Chloe was at the Ariana Grande concert with her uncle, Isacc, at the time of the attack. She recalls the moment: "On the last song she [Ariana Grande] let balloons down. And then the lights came back on, and everyone was getting ready to go and that's when the bomb went off.

"And then after that everyone was running to the right hand side of the arena and then more people were getting hurt because people were climbing over the banister.

"Me and Isaac helped a lady in a wheelchair because she fell out and we helped her get back in it. People were pushing her and just trying to save their own lives. We stayed back 20 minutes after that to help other people."

It was an evening that should have been joyful for Chloe - who was only 12 at the time - instead it's led to deep and lasting psychological issues.

She said: "It bothers me now - when crisp packets in school get burst open, that scares me a lot. It's a horrible feeling because I don't want it to keep replaying in my head and reminding me of it."

22 people died when a bomb was detonated after an Ariana Grande concert 2017.

Coronavirus stopped Chloe's journey to Manchester for the third anniversary, so with help from her local community and mum, she's walking the equivalent distance between her home and the arena.

"This time two years ago, Chloe was adamant she didn't want to go to Manchester she said she never wanted to go back there", said Chloe's mum.

"This year we've finally go to that point where we feel that she's ready to go back. And we can't so it's doing two things at once if you like."

Her teacher, Marcus Castle, has also been a big help and even in lockdown has kept in touch.

Mr Castle said: "Chloe's been amazing. To experience something she has done and get on with things in the way she has.

"She has ups and downs and she would not be upset with me for saying the anniversary of the event is very hard for her to deal with."

With plenty of support, she's hoping today will be a time she can reflect on what happened that night and continue on her journey to recovery.

  • Find out how to support Chloe's fundraising efforts here.