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Grantham mum and daughter in 'miracle escape' from bomb attack




A family from Grantham who had a ‘miracle escape’ from the Manchester terror attack, have described the impact it has had on their lives one year on from the tragedy.

Clare Goodband, 44, of Kestrel Court, was at the arena last May to watch American singer and actress Ariana Grande perform her ‘Dangerous Woman’ tour as a birthday treat for her daughter Shanie Stimson, who had recently celebrated her 17th birthday.

The pair were prevented from entering the foyer of the arena seconds before the bomb blast, which killed 22 people and injured many others. Clare remembers the chaos and confusion that followed.

The mum and daughter had travelled to Manchester with Clare’s partner, Steven Stimson, 44, and son Pierce Stimson, 21, earlier in the day.

Clare Goodband and Shanie Stimson pictured a few days after the Manchester Arena bomb attack. (2225442)
Clare Goodband and Shanie Stimson pictured a few days after the Manchester Arena bomb attack. (2225442)

After shopping and something to eat, the family went their separate ways, with Steven and Pierce heading to the Arndale Centre, while Clare and Shanie headed for the concert at Manchester arena.

After a night of singing and dancing, the concert finished just after 10.30pm but Ariana surprised fans by performing an encore song.

Hoping to beat the crowds, Clare said: “We’d just reached the double doors leading down to the foyer exit, when one of the stewards suddenly put her arm out and asked us to find another exit as it was getting too busy. Just as we headed back down the steps and into another stairway, we heard an almighty bang and the ground shook below us.

“Everyone started screaming and running around. We were still a bit confused about what had actually happened but then people started running towards us saying that they’d been a bomb. I grabbed Shanie’s hand and just screamed at her to run not knowing if another bomb was about to go off. We felt like we were running for our lives.”

Once outside, the mum and daughter were greeted with a scene of chaos as parents desperately tried to find their children and the emergency services started to arrive.

Clare said: “It was then that I realised that I’d missed several calls from Steve and Pierce. We didn’t have any signal inside the arena, so they were not able to get through.

“They had heard the explosion but unsure what it was, they just kept trying to ring me. It wasn’t until they saw a man crying and holding his two daughters that they realised that something had happened before another man told them that they’d been a bomb gone off inside the arena.”

Clare finally got through to Steven who told them to head towards the street where they had parked the car.

Clare added: “We were so disorientated that we actually got lost several times before we finally found them.

“As soon as we saw them, we literally fell into their arms, before heading straight to the car. We just wanted to get the kids out of there as soon as we could.”

Amid the chaos, it took the family nearly an hour to get out of Manchester.

Clare added: “There was so many people in the streets just milling around looking dazed. Some people had just abandoned their cars in the middle of the road. We tried to go down several roads but the emergency services had blocked them off.”

Despite being in shock, Shanie still went to school the next day to sit her childcare exam and the pair also attended the ‘One Love Manchester’ benefit concert two weeks later, which had been organised by Ariana Grande in response to the bombing.

Clare said: “There was a section cordoned off for everyone who had attended the concert. We sat with a group of people who we had never met before but who had also been at the concert. Everyone was so friendly. Almost like family in a way.”

Despite the support they have received from family and friends, Clare admits that they have struggled to come to terms with what happened in the months that have followed.

Speaking to the Journal on Tuesday - the first anniversary of the terror attack - Clare said: “We are still taking it one day at a time. We have our good and bad days but everyday seems to be a constant reminder.

“All it takes is a song on the radio and it takes us right back to that night. Shanie doesn’t like to speak about it at all whereas I feel better for letting it all out.

“Steven wanted to take me to a concert last November which happened to be in Manchester. I can manage a concert but not one in Manchester just yet.”

Clare spent the first anniversary of the attack in quiet reflection.

She added: “I went to work as usual but once at home, I didn’t want to do anything. I just sat and watched the

TV.

“I have recorded all the documentaries that have been on TV recently about that awful night but I can’t bring myself to watch any of them yet. It still feels so raw.”

Despite a tough year, Clare is determined to look forward to the future.

She added: “I have got plenty to look forward to.

“Shanie turned 18 in March, I have got my hen party in Blackpool this weekend and my wedding to Steven in August.”

Clare Goodband on the day she did her skydive. (2225449)
Clare Goodband on the day she did her skydive. (2225449)

“I also took part in my first skydive earlier this year for a cancer charity.

“It is something that I have always wanted to do but never really got around to organising it.

“But if last year’s tragedy has taught me anything, it’s that you only have one life, so not to waste a single minute.”



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