South Tyneside woman fled Manchester bombing with two children

Scene at the Manchester Arena.
Scene at the Manchester Arena.

A South Tyneside woman caught up in the Manchester bomb attack has spoken about the nightmare ordeal.

Sarah Wickham was at the Ariana Grande concert with her 13-year-old daughter, Freya, and her best friend, when the blast happened.

The foster agency worker, said thankfully she and the girls were leaving by a side exit when the blast went off in the main foyer area.

The Westoe mum said: "We were walking towards the exit and we heard the bang, the whole building shook.

"I had hold of the girls, but we got separated in the stampede to leave. We got pushed down the stairs and it wasn't until then that I managed to get hold of the girls again.

"It was absolute chaos, two woman had even collapsed due to the shock of what was going on."

Sarah said: "I was afraid there would be a second bomb, so when we got outside we just kept running as far as we could until we found a taxi, it was frantic. I don't think it has really sunk in what happened, because your adrenaline just kicks in at the time.

"I am still in shock, it was so traumatic.

"I am so so sad for all those who died and where injured. I am just thankful we were not at the blast site, it was horrendous enough where we were."

Sarah had taken the girls to the concert as a treat and they stayed in a hotel last night.

By contrast, at the weekend Sarah had been to Wembley to see South Shields lift the FA Vase when they beat Cleethorpes Town 4-0.

She said: "I can't believe there has been such a tragic end to what had been a fantastic weekend."

Twenty-two people have been killed and more than 50 injured in the explosion which tore through the Manchester Arena as the concert - attended by 21,000 people - finished shortly after 10.30pm on Monday night.

Police said the attack was carried out by one man, who died in the explosion.