A homeless man who came to the aid of the Manchester Arena bombing victims has been reunited with his estranged mother – after she spotted him in news reports of the attack.
Chris Parker, 33, was in the foyer area of the venue when the device went off as music fans left the Ariana Grande concert.
Jessica Parker, of Sprowston, Norfolk, saw her son for the first time in five years last Friday.
‘Heart wrenching to know he still wanted his mum’
He told me very matter-of-factly what he did and said: ‘Mum, I’ve just done what anybody else would do’. I said: ‘I don’t think so Chris, I think you did something really wonderful and you need to remember that.’”
In another interview she said: “He just gave me the biggest hug and said: ‘I’m glad you’re here, mum.’ I said: ‘I wanted to come up and see you and make sure you are all right.’ There was a lot of emotion. He needed to talk it through, to tell me how he felt. He got very emotional when he was talking.
“He’s going to be all right, I know he is. He’s fallen on hard times, but he has a heart of gold. I’m so proud of how brave he was trying to help people. He’s completely overwhelmed by it all.”
£50,000 raised to help him off the streets
A fund set up in the wake of the bombing raised £50,000 to help Mr Parker get off the streets and get back to a normal life. He regularly went to beg at the Arena as concert crowds headed home, and on the night of the bombing recalled hearing a bang and seeing a white flash.
Speaking last week, 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. I saw a little girl … 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 also tended to a woman who was badly hurt from the bombing with serious leg and head injuries. He said: “She passed away in my arms. I haven’t stopped crying.”
David Sullivan, joint chairman of West Ham United FC, offered to rent a property for a second homeless man, Stephen Jones, who dashed into the Arena to help the injured in the aftermath of the bomb.
(Previously published at inews.co.uk, click here for more)