Manchester attack anniversary: ‘We focus on the positive...  we were lucky’

The Senior Family fro m left to right, Eve, Andrew, Natalie and Emilia
The Senior Family fro m left to right, Eve, Andrew, Natalie and Emilia

IT WAS the image that came to symbolise the many young victims of the Manchester Arena bombing.

A photograph of bloodied and bandaged 14-year-old Queensbury teenager Eve Senior being helped by police officers was featured on television channels and newspapers around the world, including the front page of The New York Times.

A year on, Eve’s father Andrew has spoken about how his wife and two daughters – all injured in the atrocity – have been trying to recover from the physical and emotional wounds inflicted on them that night.

Mr Senior, of Queensbury, said: “I am extremely proud. They have had their ups and downs but are just getting on with it. As a father, you don’t know how strong your family are until they need that strength.”

Eve had gone to the Ariana Grande concert with mother Natalie and younger sister Emilia, then 11. They had been just metres away from suicide bomber Salman Abedi when he detonated his device.

Eve and Mrs Senior were both in hospital for 10 days with multiple shrapnel wounds, while Emilia suffered cuts, bruises and damage to her hearing.

Mr Senior, 42, rushed to Manchester as news reached him that his family had been caught up in the explosion. Friends from other countries soon began getting in touch with him after recognising Eve in the media coverage.

He said: “Eve said the next morning, ‘Do you think they will find out at school, Dad?’ I was already getting messages on my phone from Australia.”

The businessman said he “couldn’t stress how good” the medical teams had been and the family had also been touched by the way the community had rallied around to support them on their return to Queensbury.

Eve has undergone four operations in the past year and is still having physiotherapy. Mrs Senior, 40, is also having some physiotherapy, while Emilia’s hearing is steadily improving.

Mr Senior said they were also trying to recover from the psychological trauma of the experience, and in particular had found news of subsequent terror attacks very distressing.

“They find them really upsetting. It really brings back bad memories and throws it all up again,” he said.

“Over the last three weeks, as it comes up to the anniversary, the psychological element has been really hard. They are all struggling in different ways at different times.”

The Senior family will be among those attending today’s memorial service at Manchester Cathedral. Mr Senior said deciding whether to attend had been difficult for his wife and daughters but they had wanted “to go back for the people who didn’t survive”.

The family is among those who have been helped through their recovery by the charity Victim Support, with a volunteer visiting them on a regular basis.

Mrs Senior has been attending a support group set up for adults affected by the atrocity in Bradford and “by the end of it, they actually had her helping other people,” Mr Senior said.

Victim Support organised a trip to an activity centre for the young people affected by the attack and also helped families return to the scene of the blast before the arena reopened.

Mr Senior said the experience had been difficult but worthwhile, as his family showed him exactly where they had been standing in the foyer in relation to the bomber.

“All three of them found it very helpful. Not one of them said it was a bad idea. I found it very helpful too, to be honest, because I had never been, so I now knew how small an area it was and how lucky they are,” he said.

“We constantly try to concentrate on the positive.

“What happened, happened. It is horrendous and the way we look at it is that we were lucky, in a way. Eve was about five metres from the bomb and to be where she is now is just immense.”