Inspirational Arena attack survivor visits Academy

Wednesday 22 May 2024 16:30

Ahead of today's seventh anniversary of the Manchester Arena bomb, United Academy staff witnessed a stirring talk from survivor and lifelong Red Martin Hibbert.

Delivering an inspirational recount of his life story on Tuesday evening, Hibbert had been invited to the Academy’s final all-staff meeting of the 2023/24 campaign. These meetings, held every six weeks throughout the season, regularly feature motivational or educational workshops and speeches from experts of all varieties.
Hibbert was just six metres away from the bomb on 22 May 2017 and told staff how he was hit by 22 pieces of shrapnel, one of which severed an artery in his neck and another which severed his spinal cord, rendering him paralysed. His daughter, Eve, was struck in the temple by another piece of shrapnel.

Both have made remarkable recoveries.
Martin delivers his inspirational words to rapt Academy staffers.
Martin’s story of determination and positivity since suffering such life-changing injuries is, as he stated, reflective of the attitude of his lifelong football club. He recalled his one memory of his time in intensive care: hearing his wife speaking and then his dad telling him that United had won the UEFA Europa League.
The Reds triumphed 2-0 over Ajax in Stockholm just days after the attack, which tragically killed 22 people. As Manchester came together to remember and honour the victims, the victory in Sweden proved a poignant occasion, with players and fans alike spurred on by a desire to represent the city during a time of mourning.
Hibbert climbed Kilimanjaro in 2022 using a specifically modified wheelchair.
Martin, meanwhile, spent four months in hospital, several months shorter than doctors had first predicted. Two years ago, in a bid to raise £1m for the Spinal Injuries Association, Martin defied the odds to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s tallest mountain – and become only the second paraplegic to do so. He posed with his United flag atop the mountain to celebrate his remarkable achievement.
Academy staff were clearly inspired by the talk, which emphasised several crucial messages centring on making the most of every day, proactively taking on challenges and change, and focusing on what you can achieve with what you’ve got.
Manchester has been a united city in the hours, days, weeks, months and years since the attack and everyone impacted by that tragic evening at the Manchester Arena will be forever in the club’s thoughts.