A woman who survived the Manchester terror attack has taken in the daughter of her best friend, Wendy Fawell, who was killed in the blast.
Caroline Davis Osborne has said she will “always be there” for 15-year-old Charlotte after her mother was killed in the suicide bombing that left 21 others dead and more than 100 others injured.
Ms Fawell and Ms Davis Osborne had brought their children to the Ariana Grande concert on Monday and were waiting to collect them in the foyer of the Manchester Arena when Salman Abedi detonated a nail bomb.
The 50-year-old mother was killed, while Ms Davis Osborne was left badly injured.
“No matter what happens, we’ll never forget Wendy,” she said. “As hard as it is, I want to try to have some sort of normality for all of the children. I don’t want to let hate win.”
Ms Davis Osborne said she hopes to honour her friend by ensuring her daughter always has a home.
“I’ll never replace Wendy but I will always be there for her. I’d do anything for her and I’ll love her like she is my own. I’ve been like a second mum to Charlotte anyway. I have said she can live here if she wants to. There is always room for her here.”
Ms Davis Osborne also said she has been struggling with survivor’s guilt over the fact that she had bought the concert tickets – and because her best friend died heading to a different exit to make sure the pair did not miss their children, Charlotte and Ms Davis Osborne’s two sons, Lee,16, and Ben, 12.
Charlotte, who is currently staying with Ms Davis Osborne’s family in Otley, West Yorkshire, told of her own devastation on learning her mother had been killed in the attack.
“Identifying mum’s body hit me really hard,” the teenager said. “That’s when I realised she wasn’t coming home. Even when I was told she’d gone I guess I still hoped there had been a mistake. But seeing her body changed that.”
Ms Davis Osborne told the paper she and Ms Fawell, who also has a 29-year-old son, Adam, had met two years ago working as lunchtime supervisors at a primary school.
She said the pair quickly grew close and described Ms Fawell as more of a sister, than a friend.
“It was like I’d known her my whole life. We opened up to each other straight away. We were best friends,” she said. The families grew even closer, she said, when Charlotte started dating her son, Lee.
Ms Davis Osborne said Ms Fawell was estranged from her husband, and so the task of arranging her funeral has been left up to Charlotte and her brother, Adam. She said they plan to keep half of her ashes inside a Jack Daniel’s whiskey bottle and scatter the other half on Lyme Regis beach in Dorset, their mother’s favourite place to enjoy holidays.
Charlotte told the newspaper: “One day, I hope to get married there so that way, we will be together. I’ll keep the other half with me so I can be close to her.”
(Previously published at independent.co.uk)
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