Heroic Kelly Brewster died saving 11-year-old niece's life in Manchester attack, friend reveals
Vicky Smith said Miss Brewster, 32, from Sheffield, was at the arena with her sister Claire Booth and niece Hollie, 11.
Ms Smith told ITV Calendar News that her friend threw herself over Hollie and her mother.
She said: "When the explosion went off, Kelly sort of fell, chucked herself almost over both her sister and her niece.
"Whether that was just natural instinct, either way that's the protection that she gave to them."
Asked whether that meant she saved Hollie's life, Ms Smith said: "Yes."
Other family members have hailed her a hero on social media.
Miss Brewster's partner Ian Winslow confirmed she had died on Facebook.
He said: "Not sure how this works but it isn't good news. Kelly Brewster wasn't one of the unidentified hospital patients. She has sadly passed away in the terror attack yesterday.
"Kelly really was the happiest she has ever been and we had so many things planned together. My daughter Phoebe will be absolutely devastated like we all are."
Relatives have described how Mr Winslow's seven-year-old daughter Phoebe had a very close relationship with Miss Brewster and they were "like sisters".
They have also suggested the couple had recently put a deposit down on a new home and were planning to start a family.
Miss Brewster's sister and niece are both understood to be among the injured in Manchester.
According to reports, Mrs Booth has a broken jaw and her daughter has two broken legs. Both have also had bolts from the the bomb removed.