Manchester attack: More than £4,000 raised for homeless man who cradled dying woman in his arms

Members of the public have pledged money along with messages of support for rough sleeper Chris Parker, who rushed into Manchester arena to help victims

Rachael Pells
Tuesday 23 May 2017 17:38
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Manchester attack: What we know so far

More than £4,000 has been raised for a homeless man who held a dying woman in his arms after he rushed inside Manchester Arena to help terror attack victims.

Chris Parker said he was at the concert venue to ask revellers for spare change as they left an Ariana Grande gig on Monday night.

He was in the area foyer when a suicide bomb went off inside, killing 22 people and injuring at least 59 others.

Ms Parker, 33, was knocked to the floor with the force of the explosion, but ran back inside the building to help victims.

His has been hailed as a “true hero” by members of the public, who have donated money to him on a Gofundme page, set up by Michael Johns.

Mr Johns said: “Like many others have been horrified by the news from Manchester.

“Amongst the sad details one story has stood out for me and compelled me to make an effort to help one of our most vulnerable in society who showed great selflessness and courage.”

More than 350 people donated money within the first couple of hours, along with messages of support for the rough sleeper.

One donor Shorna Gumbley said: “I speak for the world when I simply thank you for your bravery. You are a hero and you fill my heart with hope for humanity.

Jessica Tunley said: “The horrors you have seen can't be erased. Your bravery and compassion will never be diminished. Thank you, Chris.”

Speaking to the media, Mr Parker described how he first helped a girl who had lost her legs in the blast, before helping the dying woman who had suffered serious leg and head injuries.

“Everyone was piling out, all happy and everything else. As people were coming out of the glass doors I heard a bang and within a split second I saw a white flash, then smoke and then I heard screaming,” he said.

”It knocked me to the floor and then I got up and instead of running away my gut instinct was to run back and try and help.

“There was people lying on the floor everywhere.

Homeless man shares experience of helping victims of Manchester attack after the explosion

”I saw a little girl ... she had no legs. I wrapped her in one of the merchandise T-shirts and I said 'where is your mum and daddy?' She said 'my dad is at work, my mum is up there'.“

He said he thought the child's mother had died from her injuries.

Mr Parker, who has slept rough in the city for about a year, said he believed the dying woman he tended to was in her 60s.

”She passed away in my arms,” he said. “I haven’t stopped crying.”

In a separate fundraising campaign, members of the public raised more than £300,000 for the victims of the attack in the space of just a few hours.

The crowdfunding page set up by the Manchester Evening News reached £5,000 after one hour, but support soared as members of the public woke up to news of the tragedy.

By 11.15am, more than 1700 supporters had donated £28,000 to the cause, and just 30 minutes later the total figure hit the £50,000 mark.

More than 15,000 people have now pledged a total of more than £430,000.

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