'His memory will shine bright forever': Martyn Hett remembered at Manchester Arena Inquiry

09092020 - Martyn Hett, 29, lived in Stockport
Martyn Hett has become the first person to be remembered in a "pen portrait" at the Manchester Arena Inquiry. Credit: Family Photo

Martyn Hett was the first person to be remembered in a "pen portrait" at the Manchester Arena Inquiry yesterday.

Martyn's father, Paul, his step-mother Cath and elder brother Dan prepared the pen portrait heard on Monday morning, with Martyn's brother Matthew also being present in the courtroom for the commemorative statement.

His mother Figen Murray, and step-father Stuart Murray then conducted their own portrait on Tuesday, with tributes from Martyn's friends and former employers included.

Daniel Hett and his partner were not able to be present for the "pen portrait" as they are currently self-isolating, they were praised by counsel to the inquiry Paul Greaney QC for being responsible in their actions.

Credit: Family Photo

Martyn was a self-confessed Coronation Street superfan and was a "Deirdre Barlow enthusiast" and was he known for getting a tattoo of the character on his leg on the Channel 4 programme "Tattoo Fixers".

His funeral was attended by many members of the Coronation Street cast.

Before the video of Martyn's pen portrait began his father, Paul, addressed Manchester Magistrates Court thanking counsel to the inquiry Paul Greaney QC for the "understanding way" he dealt with evidence heard last week about the last hours of the victims.

The portrait began with a video showcasing Martyn and some of the videos that he made for social media, which his dad said he hoped would be up to his son's standards.

These included clips of him acting out coronation street scenes, laughing and joking with friends and family and winning Couples Come Dine with Me which he was on with his partner Russel.

Martyn's father, Paul Hett, then read a long statement on the video detailing Martyn's life.

He said that Martyn's life was so vibrant, so full of energy he would need hours to describe him and still only scratch the surface.

  • Martyn's father Paul

Paul Hett also told the inquiry in the portrait how Martyn had been "diligently saving" for two years to fund a two-month trip to America.

He was due to leave for the trip two days after the attack.

He said: "Martyn’s future was so bright. He’d just been promoted at work and was ready to go on a holiday of a lifetime.

"This was cruel beyond belief."

"Martyn's personality was fun with a wicked sense of humour. Martyn lit up everyone around him."

Mr Hett said three days before Martyn's death, the family had held a goodbye party ahead of the planned eight-week holiday in the US.

Through tears, Mr Hett continued: "We gave him a big hug and said goodbye ... having no way of knowing we would never see him again.

He added: "Martyn touched so many people in his short life and his memory will shine bright forever.

"Due to Martyn's huge social media following we've been asked many times is Martyn Hett your son, yes Martyn is our son."

Paul said that they're hearts are broken again every day when seeing pictures of Martyn in the house.

  • Figen Murray, Martyn Hett's mother

Martyn's mother, Figen, said that her son had an "incredible passion for life" which he lived at 100 Mph.

She said: "Martyn had so much charisma about him, but also a vulnerability and fragility, that he wouldn’t show very often but it was definitely there."

She added: "He leaves an absolutely gaping hole in my soul - they say time is a good healer. I don’t think that is true. Three years on I miss him every day."

Mrs Murray has been campaigning for Martyn's law since his death - which would require public venues to have a counter-terrorism plan in place.

The inquiry heard how Martyn loved to dress up for videos or for parties. Credit: Family Photo

Stuart Murray read the bulk of Tuesday's pen portrait to the court, starting it by saying: "How is it possible to describe a life so full - so much to say, so much I’m going to miss out."

He said that people always had a story to recount of when they first met Martyn and that every moment with him was a "cherished memory".

He added: "When he arrived in the house it was simply the Martyn show, his energy creativity and life force were compelling viewing."

The commemorative statement also included tributes from Martyn's former work colleagues and friends.

His former boss Gareth said that he was "one in a billion".

Martyn's friends spoke of how he had the ability to make everyone feel as though they were his "best friend"; that he brought people together and made the most out of every day.

The portrait was concluded by a video message from Stockport comedian Jason Manford, who said: "The world has been robbed of a potential superstar. Of an actual superstar. He’s obviously touched a lot of people’s lives."

He also called on people to #BeMoreMartyn and not be negative in life.

  • Martyn's brother Daniel Hett

Martyn's brother Daniel also spoke in the pen portrait, describing him and Martyn as very close, but as people being world's apart.

He also said that he feels the grief and loss of losing Martyn most keenly during big family occasions and that he will still instinctively go to message or call Martyn about things.

He added that telling his two young sons that their uncle had died was extremely difficult and that he hopes that they won't carry the grief and trauma into adulthood.

Martyn was 29 when he died, he was from Stockport and was a social media manager.

The Chairman of the inquiry, Sir John Saunders, thanked Mr Hett and his family for their tribute.

He added that no one who had watched the two tributes to Martyn could doubt that he was a "remarkable" human being.

Read all the pen portraits here.