Shropshire Star

Concert suicide attack: We live in such a cruel world says young fan’s father

Naomi Penrose spoke to the family of a young fan from the Shropshire border who went to the concert attacked by a suicide bomber in Manchester.

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Chaotic scenes of people fleeing the venue in Manchester were caught on people’s camera phones. Inset: Maisie Ansloos

A father today described his "utter relief" at seeing his children walk through the door just after midnight after watching Ariana Grande in concert at Manchester Arena.

Maisie Ansloos, 10, was taken to see her idol by her elder brother Sam.

Chaotic scenes of people fleeing the venue in Manchester were caught on people’s camera phones and shared across social media

Their evening was recorded through a series of happy selfies and videos.

But as news filtered through of an explosion at the venue, family at home in Llangollen were desperately worried.

Maisie and Sam's father, Marcus Ansloos, said he was today still reeling from the shock of what happened but added he was relieved his 22-year-old son and younger daughter were safe.

Maisie and her bother Sam at the concert

He said: “My children told me when the concert finished they were exiting the arena and they were by the foyer where the bomb went off.

“They heard the loud bang which shook them and they were stunned at first then Sam grabbed hold of Maisie and ran out. My wife called Sam when they were out and Maisie sent me a text to say they were out.

“I was so relieved when I saw them coming through the door at midnight. Maisie is off school today because she’s a little shaken up.”

“We live in such a cruel world. My little girl was so excited she was going, we gave her money to buy merchandise. These events are about making lovely memories and sadly it will be a bad memory and a harrowing one for us. We are just so grateful they came home – 22 poor parents don’t have that luxury today.”

Maisie and Sam's view of the concert

Hayley Turner, who is originally from Morda near Oswestry but now lives in Manchester, lives at Ludgate Hill, about a five minute walk away from the arena.

Today, she said: “Last night we went to bed at about 10.30pm, heard a few sirens but thought it was nothing just the usual and then a few minutes later a massive rush of police cars, ambulances and fire engines just came from nowhere, and then a helicopter was above us all night until 3am, then started up again at 6am.

“We were told to stay inside and not to ring the police because of the amount of people around, then at about 1am we were told the bomb squad were going to sweep the area around and that’s when we were told they had found one at cathedral gardens.”

The 23-year-old said the city has been left in turmoil following the attack.

Maisie and Sam's view of the concert

She said: “In the morning we woke up to it being described as a terrorist attack, all the roads were closed in the city and hundreds of people had to walk to work. Most people were crying on the phone to their families.”

Lydia Watson, aged 37, from Worcester, had been inside the concert venue alongside her daughter Madison, 11.

She said they heard an explosion and then ran for their lives – describing a ‘stampede’ towards the exit after the improvised explosive device was detonated.

Mrs Watson said: “Obviously it was chaos down the stairs.

“I thought someone was going to end up being crushed and that was frightening and then you do not know whether it’s guns.

“I didn’t know whether there was someone down the footwell waiting.”

Brutal attack will not divide strong nation

A Telford parish councillor said the terrorists that committed the attacks in Manchester “are not Muslims”.

Councillor Usman Ahmed, who stands on Hadley and Leegomery Parish Council, is the youngest Muslim councillor in Shropshire and has been on the council since 2015.

He said: “These people are not Muslims.

“I cannot begin to imagine what families and loved ones are going through right now, what happened in Manchester was a cruel, barbaric, heinous and cowardly attack that sought only to divide us.

“I send my deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to all those affected in last night’s shocking atrocities in Manchester City Centre.

“Any attack is an attack on our humanity, our decency, our shared British values of community and tolerance and an attack on our way of life.

“These attacks seek to divide us and as we see time and time again they fail miserably. The strength, unity and compassion shown by the people of Manchester and Britain is breathtaking, people opening their homes for victims and their families and people aiding in the search for loved ones.”

“Terrorists have no religion, they represent the worst of humanity and human nature.

“Terrorism will never divide us, our values will prevail, the strength of our character and unity of purpose of the nation we are proud to call home will always prevail.”

Pray for victims of bombing: Bishop

The Bishop of Shrewsbury has called on clergymen and churchgoers to pray for the victims of the Manchester terror attack.

The Rt Rev Mark Davies, wrote a letter calling on people to show peace and solidarity with those affected.

He said: “Following the suicide bombing in Manchester I know that you will be remembering in prayer all the victims and their families.

“Let us continue to pray for those who have died and their families and all who are suffering as a result of the terrible events of last night. “Let us also keep in our prayers the police and emergency services together with all hospital staff and chaplains.

"Together with church and religious leaders in Greater Manchester, I ask the prayers of your parishioners for peace and solidarity in all our communities that the hate which inspires such indiscriminate violence may be overcome by that love which faith and prayer inspires in our hearts.

“I hope the days ahead, over-shadowed by this atrocity, will lead us all to such prayer and active charity. United with you in this prayer.”