Halifax mum and daughters ran for their lives during Manchester attack

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A Halifax mum and her two daughters ran for their lives when the Manchester bomb exploded at the end of tunnel they were leaving through.

Marie Jones and daughters Alycia, 12, and Jessica, six, were heading towards the foyer when carnage erupted and panic swept through the crowd.

Swarms of emergency services at Manchesters MEN Arena and Piccadilly Station after an explosion tonight March 23 2017. Fatalities have now been reported.

Swarms of emergency services at Manchesters MEN Arena and Piccadilly Station after an explosion tonight March 23 2017. Fatalities have now been reported.

Mrs Jones said: “My 12-year-old saw bodies being thrown through the door ahead of us. We felt the shockwaves. It must be the most terrifying thing we have seen, or heard, or smelled.

“We turned and ran and ran, as fast as we could. We went back up into the arena, up our stairs. It seems hours but it must have been seconds before we got to the next block.

“I know it was only seconds because on the clip that was shown on the news I recognised us running. The security guard was shouting ‘run don’t stop, keep running’. It would not have surprised me if a lot of the people were injured trying to get out.”

As confusion and horror engulfed the thousands of concert-goers there to watch American pop star Ariana Grande, Mrs Jones fought to save her daughters from being crushed in the stampede.

“My youngest was being pushed so I put her in front of me. The three of us were in a row but I put her in front so I could take the weight.

“We ran and ran. The girls didn’t want to stop, they just wanted to be out of Manchester.”

In the wake of the tragedy Mrs Jones, from Illingworth, has struggled to find a counselling service to help her daughters deal with the trauma.

But as the country mourns and the people present at Manchester Arena on May 22 try to come to terms with the attack, Mrs Jones took her daughters out for a run at Salterhebble wearing Ariana Grande T-shirts.

“They didn’t want to draw attention to themselves but they wanted to take ownership of what happened,” she said.

“The last time we were running for our lives, but they wanted to run for fun.”

Reflecting on the night – which was initially a Christmas present for her children – Mrs Jones’ main concern remained her children and her thankfulness that they were “lucky” enough to go home that night.

“As a parent and as a mum we are meant to be there to protect our children and all I could do at the time was to tell them to keep moving and make empty promises, ‘keep moving, you’ll be fine’.

“We couldn’t even stop to have a cuddle because we had no idea if there would be another bomb or someone with a gun waiting for us. We didn’t know what was happening.”