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Attitude fitness columnist gives harrowing account of Manchester suicide bombing aftermath

2017-05-23
In the aftermath of the attack at Ariana Grande's Manchester concert last night (May 22), more detailed reports of what happened are beginning to emerge. Police have confirmed that 22 people, including children, have died following the bombing. The attack was carried out by a lone man who detonated a device in the foyer area of Manchester Arena, shortly after the end of the concert. He died in the blast. Attitude's fitness columnist Matt Lister, who was at the concert at the Manchester Arena last night, has given an account of his experience in the aftermath of the concert. Matt told Attitude that he got out of seat as soon as Ariana finished singing 'Dangerous Woman', as he had previously checked the setlist to find out which song she would be singing last. "We reached the top of the stairs and headed for the external doors, just as we go through them I realised we had come to the wrong door, we should have headed back out via the box office entrance," Matt says. "Then we heard this huge explosion. The ground shook and for a few seconds there was silence, then the screams came. We saw thousands of people pouring out of every exit, running and screaming. "People lost their shoes, they were jumping barriers, kids had been separated from parents. I just grabbed (my partner) Ben and said 'We have to get out of here now but be careful there's going to be stampedes, now run!' "We ran down the street away from the arena, where there were countless people scattered around in hysterics. Young girls trying to find their friends. The sirens seemed to come as soon as we got around the corner. "We had parked just north of the arena, the door that we should have come out of was the door that was bombed, exactly at the point we would have reached it. Matt and Ben both got out safely. "We're shaken up, but I'm just thankful to be alive. It was awful and the scale of it still hasn't sunk in." He praises the "sense of community" that has come in the aftermath of the tragedy. "There are hundreds of people flocking to give blood this morning, there were missing people stations set up at several hotels within an hour of the incident, taxi drivers are giving free rides to those in need. Both me and Ben, as well as many other friends who were there have been inundated with messages from all over the world." Matt confirms that there were many LGBT+ people in attendance on the night: "There was a huge LGBT presence at the concert, and rightfully so with Ariana's continued fearless support of our community. "I can't believe it happened. Hearing the news today keeps driving me to tears. I can't imagine how Ariana must be feeling right now. We are lucky to be alive. But we can't give in to fear from this, because then that one man gets exactly what he wanted." Police have confirmed that a 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with last night’s terror attack, while the BBC reports that Islamic extremist group Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack. Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed this morning that police believe they know the identity of the bomber, who died at the scene, but that they would not yet name him while initial investigations are ongoing. Meanwhile, the first victim of last night’s fatal terror attack in Manchester has been named as 18-year-old Georgina Callander, from Lancashire.