Survivor of the Manchester Arena bombing writes a book about how life has changed

Martin Hibbert came into the Granada Reports studio to chat to Elaine Willcox and Gamal Fahnbulleh

A survivor of the Manchester Arena bombing has written a book about how life has changed and what motivates him every day.

22 people died and hundreds more were injured when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated a bomb in the foyer of Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande concert, on 22 May 2017.

Many were children and teenagers.

Martin Hibbert, who was the closest person to the bomber to survive the attack, had bought tickets for his daughter Eve.

He says, almost seven years on, he still feels guilty that she was seriously injured.

Martin was told just five weeks after the attack that he would never walk again and has used his own experience of navigating life in a wheelchair to try to make the world a better place for disabled people.

His book, called Top of the World, charts life after the bombing and his Mount Kilimanjaro climb, for which he's raised almost £1,000,000 for the Spinal Injuries Association.

Martin said: "I wanted to put my own story in my own words."

Speaking about the night of the attack, Martin said he stayed awake until paramedics arrived and at that point he said he did not think he would make it.

He told a security guard to tell his wife Gabby "he loved her".

Martin with his daughter Eve. Credit: Martin Hibbert

He suffered PTSD from the impact of the attack on his daughter and admits to feeling 'guilt' he couldn't protect her and has had serious bouts of severe depression.

He described the moment he woke from a coma in hospital a week after the bombing, when he was told he was paralysed from the waist down.

Martin said: "The guilt does creep in every now and again, when I think, I shouldn't have bought those tickets.

"But I suppose it's my mind making sense of that night."

When Martin climbed Kilimanjaro, he took his mum's ashes to scatter at the top of the mountain.

He also took the ashes of one of the bombing victims - Olivia Campbell-Hardy.

The 15-year-old was a talented singer from Bury and had dreamed of travelling the world before she was killed.

He said: "I phoned her mum and there were lots of tears.

"I said it would be an honour if I could take Olivia's ashes. I knew having them both with me that nothing would stop me doing it.

"I knew in those moments where I doubted myself that if I thought about my mum and Olivia, that it would snap me out of it."

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