Borough Cubs inspired by brave arena attack survivor
Cubs in the borough received an inspirational visit from a man recovering from horrific injuries suffered in the Manchester Arena terror attack.
Martin Hibbert told 5th Tyldesley Cubs how he and his daughter Eve were the closest people to the bomb which detonated at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22.
Doctors warned Martin he might never walk again as he was left paralysed from the belly button down and with injuries that were “like being shot 22 times at point blank range”.
However, the Cubs heard how radical new therapy programmes have brought feeling back to his lower legs and abdomen and how he now moves around independently.
Not only that, Martin along with friend Lee Freeman and former Team GB Paralympian Richie Powell took part in the Manchester 10k in May, almost one year to the day since the horrific attack.
The Tyldesley group presented Martin with the troop’s neckerchief and he also told the youngsters about his charity and plans for the future as well as hailing the Greater Manchester Scouts’ Bee Badge Campaign to which they contributed.
The 5th Tyldesley troop became very involved with the appeals and work after the terrorist attack as assistant leader John Worrall lost his cousin Alison Howe.
They struck up a friendship with a group in Meath in the Republic of Ireland and shared their thoughts and feelings in the aftermath of the bombing.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is among those who have praised the Cubs for their maturity in dealing with such a difficult subject and Martin too was impressed by the Tyldesley youngsters.
He said: “I thought I’d let the children decide where it went as opposed to me and there were some really good questions. I was really impressed by the thought that had gone into them so I think they’ll probably be thinking about it for a few days now which is good.
“It was a very nice surprise to be given a neckerchief. It was nice to be integrated into it. We’re friends for life now.
“It will be really good because there are various things that I’m going to be looking to do so to get their help will be really good. I’m really looking forward to a long-term relationship.
“The bee badge campaign has been amazing. I’ve had messages from all around the world.
“People have been disappointed by what happened but I’ve said all along they picked the wrong city when they decided to do what they did. As we saw, it makes us stronger and we won’t be divided by hatred.
“It’s been up and down for me in the past 12 months but strength wise I’m as fit, if not fitter, than I was before the bomb and I’m just really looking forward now to getting out driving and just getting the last bit of independence back that I need.
“I’m trying not to do too much at the moment. I’m concentrating on my football agency and the charity, which I’m really looking forward to doing more with.”
Martin and Eve had VIP tickets to see the American pop star on May 22 last year.
He said the visit to the Tyldesley group was the first time he had spoken to such young children about what happened that night, as he has mainly done motivational speeches at business events up to now.
Cubs and Scouts from across the region put all their efforts into the fund-raising drive after the bombing, with the bee badge campaign raising an incredible £67,000 to create a permanent memorial in Manchester to all the 22 people who lost their lives.
Last year the 5th Tyldesley Cubs attended a memorial event in the town where they released pink balloons.