A Harrogate mother who took her daughter to see Ariane Grande in Manchester has said she thought her ‘days were numbered’ during the attack which left 22 dead.
Claire Temple, aged 43, and from Harrogate, was at the concert with her 12-year-old daughter Anya, along with a friend and her daughter.
She said: “I’m just so shaken, it terrified me because I had Anya with me. All sorts of things go racing through your head.”
She said they witnessed an unconscious girl around seven years old being carried across the car park after the attack.
Claire said prior to the explosion the concert had been “absolutely brilliant”, with a young audience.
“There were lots of over-excited teenage girls, it was a very positive atmosphere. Everybody was happy, there were lots of young girls dancing around.
“It was a really good concert, almost the experience of a lifetime for Anya and her friend.”
Claire said the explosion happened moments after the end of the concert.
“People had started to drift away during the encore because there were so many young kids there. Then there was probably about two minutes between her finishing until the lights coming up. We stayed in our seats until the lights came up.
“Within a minute we heard this massive bang. We had just started to get on the stairs to get out. Everybody just turned around and started screaming and people came back into the arena. We were on the side where the bomb went off.
“In my mind, I had Anya and I just needed to stay calm and not show her that I was concerned. They had released some big balloons towards the end and although it clearly wasn’t, I said maybe somebody had popped a balloon and scared people.
“We started aiming for another exit and I didn’t hear a second bang but people started to scream and run again. I don’t know what caused it.
“I wouldn’t be surprised that a lot of people had been injured in the crush trying to get out.
“We then went down on to the floor of the arena. There was a lot of panic and terror. There were a lot of teenagers there who didn’t have a grown up with them to reassure them everything was ok. Families had got split up. One woman was one the phone just screaming at her daughter. There was almost hysteria.
“My heart was thumping out of my chest, I was thinking my days are numbered.
“Once we got outside there were just groups of teenage girls stood around absolutely hysterical. I don’t whether they had witnessed anything or it was not knowing where their friends were.
“What was going through my head was to get Anya out of there. We saw a guy carry out a girl through the car park who looked unconscious and about seven years old.
“We didn’t know what had happened, we were saying to the girls it could have been a gas canister explosion. We got back to Harrogate about 00.30am and it came on the news there could have been about 20 fatalities.”
Claire said the events of last night are only just sinking in and it will make her think twice about taking her children to gigs.
“Both me and my friend feel very angry that terrorists have targeted that kind of concert. It is very easy to say I don’t want terrorists to win but equally I don’t want to put my children in the firing line. They are targeting children, they are just sick, it is not right. It is somebody not right in the head, it is an awful, awful act. I keep thinking there were mums with little girls sat around us who had left - they would have been the people caught in the bang.”