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Arena attack mother says her son would be thrilled with her OBE

Figen Murray from Poynton is made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace. Picture date: Friday June 24, 2022 (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Figen Murray from Poynton is made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace. Picture date: Friday June 24, 2022 (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

A mother who lost her son in the Manchester Arena terror attack in 2017 said he “would be really very thrilled” for her as she received an OBE for her campaigning work in the wake of the atrocity.

Figen Murray is the mother of Martyn Hett, one of the 22 people who died at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in 2017.

Since his death, Ms Murray has obtained a masters degree in counterterrorism and has successfully lobbied the Government to make public spaces and venues safer through the new Martyn’s Law, otherwise known as Protect Duty.

When asked about what the honour meant to her and her family, she turned to her husband and said, “I think Martyn would be really very thrilled, wouldn’t he?”

Asked about her motivations for her ongoing campaigning, she said: “I could have gone under but that wouldn’t have been the right answer. I could have been angry; I chose to forgive. And I think it’s really important to stay positive because I have other children to care for and look after and consider.

“I’m married, I have a husband, I’m a sibling, I wouldn’t have functioned in all those roles had I given in to anger and hate.

“I also felt that as somebody who has been directly affected through terrorism, I was in a position through my personal resilience to actually break the cycle of hate by forgiving. So that was really important to me to do that.”

Manchester Arena attack anniversary
Martyn Hett was among the 22 killed in the Manchester Arena attack in 2017 (Family handout/GMP/PA)

Ms Murray said that as of this week she had spoken to almost 20,000 children up and down the country about counterterrorism, and she continues to work with the Government on Protect Duty, legislation which was announced in this year’s Queen’s Speech.

She added: “I couldn’t have done it without my husband and my family supporting me because I spend a lot of time travelling up and down the country and now also abroad just to do the work, so without their support that wouldn’t have happened, so I’m really grateful to my family.

“But there’s still a lot of work to be done and I’m pleased to say that the government is really good at working with us on Martyn’s Law, so that’s progressing nicely.”

Manchester Arena incident
Figen Murray, the mother of Martyn Hett, with her husband Stuart Murray (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

She said that, although getting Martyn’s Law passed is “taking a long time”, it was more important that “they take their time and work out all the details of the legislation and get it right than rush it through and then (say), ‘this it’s not working, it’s not workable’.

“So I don’t mind them taking their time on it. I just want it to be a legislation that is really workable for the industry that it applies to.”

The last two reports of the Manchester Arena Inquiry are due to be published later this year.