Sheffield woman who lost sister in Manchester Arena bombing stands guard at memorial to stop trespassers

A Sheffield woman who lost her sister in the Manchester Arena attack was forced to stand guard at the memorial to stop ‘disrespectful’ trespassers.

Monday, 6th December 2021, 2:49 pm

Claire Brewster, whose sister Kelly was murdered in the 2017 blast, says she couldn’t stand to watch on Sunday night (December 5) as ‘teenagers’ and ‘trespassers’ trampled on the yet-unopened Glade of Light.

The Glade, which is set to be officially opened next year, honours the 22 people killed when Salman Abedi detonated a bomb at an Ariana Grande concert on May 22, 2017.

But, in the short hours she stood waiting for the local council to arrive and take action, Claire says she saw members of the public smoking cannabis, throwing up, and urinating on the memorial’s building site.

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Kelly Brewster was killed in a bomb attack at the Manchester Arena in 2017

She claims that members of the public moved a construction fence to use the memorial, which should be closed off, as a shortcut.

Manchester City Council has today stated a security team is now at the site.

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Claire told how she and her friend Caroline Curry, from South Shields, stood for hours on their own trying to guard the memorial. No one from the council reportedly showed up.

The memorial to the Manchester Arena attack is being trespassed on by members of the public, the sister of one of the 22 victims has said.

She wrote in a series of tweets: “The Glade of Light is a beautiful tribute and it deserves complete respect and protection.

"Last night, amongst other things, I had to stand and argue with a grown man, apparently a member of the British Army, for him to stop trampling all over my sisters name on her part of the halo. He was aggressive and abusive.

"We also had to move someone on from being sick and watch numerous others smoke weed or urinate right at the side of the memorial.

"Manchester, please, I am begging you, treat this memorial as special. Pay your respects when it’s open, please don’t disrespect our families.”

Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester City Council's city centre lead, told the BBC it would be investigating ‘as a matter of urgency’ what happened to the memorial, as well as what is needed to ‘keep the site secure’.

"The whole area is covered by CCTV and if footage shows it was due to the deliberate actions of mindless thugs, rather than a problem with the fencing itself, we will pass this information on to the police," he said.

"We utterly condemn this mindless and disrespectful behaviour and will not hesitate to take action against those involved."

The council has previously said the memorial, which is situated alongside Manchester Cathedral and is due to open to the public in January, is designed to be ‘a tranquil garden space for remembrance and reflection’.

The memorial features a ‘stone halo’ centrepiece which bears the names of the 22 victims of the attack and personalised memory capsules, containing items provided by each victim’s loved ones.

She was one of 22 people who were killed in the blast, which also injured hundreds of people, that night.