A Huddersfield couple who were knocked off their feet by the terrorist bomb at Manchester Arena say they feel incredibly lucky to be alive.
Sarah and Alan Gullick were waiting in the foyer for daughter Lauren and her friend Aleesha, both 14, when suicide bomber Salman Abedi blew himself up just a few yards away, killing 22 people.
The terrified couple witnessed awful scenes as they tried to find their daughter, who was still in the venue.
Alan, 45, who was hit in the hip by a piece of shrapnel, said: “We just heard a loud bang, ringing in our ears and we were on the floor.”
They witnessed a badly injured woman trying to phone her child and saw one person who had been killed.
Alan, who is recovering at home in Brackenhall, said: “Something hit me in the hip but I didn’t feel it at the time.
“I felt a burning sensation and five minute’s later I noticed my jacket pocket was ripped and that I was hurt.”
He has since had an X-ray which has confirmed that nothing is embedded in his body, although he will have to undergo various tests to ensure the shrapnel has not contaminated his blood.
Alan said they had been standing next to the box office when the bomb went off around 15 feet away.
After they blast, he noticed that the floor around him was covered in nuts and bolts. Stewards were in a state of shock and some were injured, he said.
They had to walk past someone’s remains in order to get to their daughter.
Sarah, 44, an IT manager at Huddersfield University, said they were both grateful that Lauren and Aleesha had not been hurt. But they feel devastated for other parents who had lost children.
Alan, who works in IT in Leeds, said he couldn’t put into words his feelings for the victims and their loved ones.
“I know how I felt immediately after the bomb went off and the not knowing where Lauren was. I just don’t know what we would have done if we had lost Lauren. I can’t imagine what families are going through.”
The couple, who are still suffering flashbacks, said the Ariana Grande concert was the first gig their daughter had attended without them being present.
Lauren, a pupil at North Huddersfield Trust School, said she had seen a “flash” while inside the auditorium and had then made her way out. She is determined to continue attending concerts.
Her grandma, Lorraine Brind-Winnen, said her daughter and son-in-law had been traumatised by what they had seen.
“They have been told to take the rest of the week off and have had sleepless nights. It’s going to take them a while to mentally adjust.”