'We're lucky to be alive after Manchester terror attack'

26 May 2017 7:21AM

A Whitehaven mother believes she, her daughter and friend are lucky to be alive following Manchester’s terror attack.

Keri Taylor, her 13-year-old daughter Megan Walton, both of Bransty, and friend Pola Kozuv, 12, of Hensingham, were caught up in the ordeal at Manchester Arena.

Relieved mum Mrs Taylor said: “We were at the other side of the arena. We were so very lucky.”

Mrs Taylor spoke about the terrifying attack, in which injured victims fled from the arena and people could be heard crying and screaming.

She said: “We heard a bang, we weren’t sure where it had come from. The next minute, on the other side of the arena, people started running.

“People thought it may have been a speaker popping but we weren’t really sure. People started running and children started crying.”

When they headed to the foyer they could smell burning and they were told to evacuate.

Security officers were lined by the exit telling people not to go any further. “That’s the point the alarms went on,” she said.

“Everyone went out really quickly. We went to the other side of the road. There were people who were lost and others crying.

“Megan started crying at that point.”

Emergency services flocked to the scene. Mrs Taylor saw an injured girl whose hand was covered in blood and another injured person sitting in a police car.

Mrs Taylor, who is a supply teacher and also runs KT Tuitions in Workington, said they stayed at a Premier Inn that night. It was only the following morning that it started to become clear what had happened.

Mrs Taylor’s husband James collected them on Tuesday night, but her car is still parked in the arena car park which has been cordoned off.

She said the horrific attack had not put her off going to events in the future, but she would be more wary.

Following the attack, flags at Downing Street were lowered at half mast and as The Whitehaven News went to press, General Election activities were still suspended.

Former Whitehaven man Jack Kenmare, who now works in Manchester, has spoken about the aftermath in the city.

He said: “These attacks on the great city of Manchester are horrific. How can someone target such a young and innocent crowd? It is beyond comprehension. My heart goes out to all the victims’ families.

“People here are strong and will carry on their duties as normal. On Tuesday, Piccadilly Gardens was packed with people as a busker played All You Need Is Love and Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.

“People queued to give blood to those affected by the attack. Manchester will overcome these testing times. Again, my thoughts go out to all those involved.”

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