Manchester Arena bombing victim’s mother made OBE in new year honours for work to fight terrorism

Figen Murray has campaigned for a law in her son’s name to increase public protection at large venues

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Editor
Friday 31 December 2021 22:30 GMT
<p>Martyn Hett, 29, was one of the 22 victims of the 2017 Manchester attack </p>

Martyn Hett, 29, was one of the 22 victims of the 2017 Manchester attack

The mother of a victim of the Manchester Arena bombing has been made an OBE for her work to fight terrorism.

Campaigning by Figen Murray has sparked the creation of a new legal requirement for venues to have minimum standards of protection against terror attacks.

The duty is known as Martyn’s Law in memory of her son Martyn Hett, who among the 22 victims killed in an Isis-inspired suicide bombing targeting an Ariana Grande concert in 2017.

Ms Murray, 60, has since completed a master's degree in counter-terrorism and toured schools speaking to 14,000 children about the dangers of radicalisation.

She told The Independent she was “completely puzzled and overwhelmed” to be made an OBE for services to counter-terrorism.

“Having been given the honour of receiving the OBE, I feel that it comes with a degree of responsibility to do it proper justice,” she added.

“That it makes me even more determined to see Martyn’s Law through to its realisation within the government’s new protect duty.

“I will focus a lot of my energy on talking to young people about values of kindness, forgiveness, tolerance and compassion.”

The former lead commissioner for countering extremism was also honoured in the 2021 list.

Sara Khan, who has been given a damehood, said her Pakistani Muslim parents had always encouraged her to “contribute positively to our society” after they came to Britain in the 1960s.

“I am truly touched and humbled,” she added. “Countering extremism is incredibly difficult and challenging, and this is something I have learnt through my own personal and professional experience.

Figen Murray, mother of Martyn Hett, who died during the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017, speaks during a public inquiry into the incident to urge the Govt to resume talks on security

“At a time when activists are too often belittled and attacked, I am reassured to see that our country and honours system values such work. This work is vital in upholding and defending our democratic values and institutions, which extremists threaten to undermine.”

Dame Sara left her post in the Commission for Countering Extremism in March, and is currently the government’s independent adviser for social cohesion.

Several people working with victims of crime and domestic abuse survivors were decorated in the new year honours.

They include Claire Waxman, the independent victims' commissioner for London, who was made an OBE, and Fiona Louise Mackenzie, founder of the We Can't Consent to This campaign against sexual violence, who was made an MBE.

Several officers in the National Crime Agency were given honours, including its director of threat leadership Robert Jones, who was made a CBE for services to preventing serious and organised crime.

The Queen’s Police Medal was also awarded to 18 officers recognised for their service.

Among them was former Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Stoten, who was the senior investigating officer in the 2019 Essex lorry deaths case, where 39 Vietnamese people suffocated in a container.

Two ringleaders in the smuggling gang that brought them to the UK were jailed for manslaughter.

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