The mother of one of the victims of the Manchester Arena attack, and a campaigner for stronger security measures in public places has been presented with an OBE.
60-year-old Figen Murray – whose son Martyn Hett was one of 22 people killed in the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing – was selected in the Queen’s New Year Honours list in December 2021 after being recognised for her continuous work in counter-terrorism, public speaking, and promotion of peace.
She was presented with her OBE by Prince William The Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Place last Friday.
Figen said she completed the degree to try and understand why her son was killed.
Originally from Stockport, Figen has tirelessly campaigned for the introduction of ‘Martyn’s Law’ since the attack, and the law was recently confirmed in the Queen’s Speech – which set out the government’s planned legislative programme.
Under the proposals, venues across the UK would have a legal duty to devise, adopt, and provide specific security plans and training for a potential terror attack.
Now, Figen – who publicly forgave bomber Salman Abedi less than a month after the attack to “break the cycle of hate that existed” – says that “more needs to be done” to keep the public safe.
After proudly accepting her OBE, Figen said: “The Manchester Arena attack changed my life forever, and I know my son Martyn would be touched by all of the work I am doing in memory of him.
“Whilst the bomber sought to spread hatred and division that night, I am determined to share the values that Martyn held so close to his heart – love, kindness and tolerance – to make our young people more understanding and resilient to extremist influences.
“But there is also work to be done around safety at public places and venues.
“We should all be able to enjoy attending these venues in the knowledge that we are protected against potential terrorist attacks.”
She also spoke about the importance of Martyn’s Law set to be introduced.
“We have an opportunity before us to set the world leading standards and legislation that will provide organisations, businesses and their employees the training and tools to prevent future terror attacks and keep the public safe,” she said.
“I look forward to working closely with the government to ensure this happens.”
Lee Rigby’s son is raising tens of thousands for charity in honour of his dad
Jack Rigby, the son of soldier Lee Rigby, is raising an absolutely huge amount of money for charity in memory of his father.
Rigby, a former Royal Fusilier who served in Afghanistan for three years, was tragically murdered by extremists Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale outside the Woolwich Barracks in May 2013 and now, over a decade after his death, his son is hoping to raise as much as possible in his honour.
His dad was 25 when he was killed and Jack himself was only two-years-old at the time. Now 13, the inspiring young man set out on his fundraising journey earlier this year, completing a marathon on behalf of Scotty’s Little Soldiers back in May, a military bereavement charity.
Setting himself the goal of reaching the ‘Scotty’s March’ £10k target — i.e. hoping to raise a £1,000 for each year since his passing — Jack and his family have been blown after the fundraiser has already amassed over £55k in donations.
With the goalposts now being moved to £60,000 after Jack and his mum Rebecca’s efforts have led to nearly £55k in contributions to the specialised bereavement organisation to support grieving military children and young people up to the age of 25.
Writing in his post when the fundraiser was first set up, Jack said, “This year marked the 10-year anniversary, it’s never easy but this year felt even harder for some reason. To help me through this year I have been concentrating on raising funds and awareness for Scotty’s Little Soldiers…
“This [has] really helped me to concentrate on something positive at a very difficult time while helping this amazing charity“, an intitiave he has been a part ever since he was a young child, adding that he named his dog Scotty in tribute to their important work for military families across the UK.
It was only earlier this year that the teenager spoke out about his father for the first time having already smashed his fundraising target before he had even run his marathon.
As for mum, she said: “Jack was so excited to see the amount grow and seeing how much each donation made him smile meant the world to me. He and I read all the messages of support and were thankful for them all. We honestly couldn’t believe how kind and generous people were being.”
Featured Image — Gov.uk/Jack Rigby (via Scotty’s Little Soldiers)
Greater Manchester’s volunteer police officers are now trained to deal with ‘high tension’ events
Dozens of volunteer police officers across Greater Manchester are now being given public order training to deal with “high tension” events.
In case you aren’t too familiar, Public Order Public Safety (POPS) is an arm of policing that covers a wide range of events and operations that could present instances of high or increased tension, according to Greater Manchester Police (GMP).
Some events of this nature include protests, festivals, sporting events, and disorder – basically, anywhere where there may be a risk to public safety.
In order to make sure there’s more hands on deck when these situations arise, GMP has now confirmed that it’s beginning the process of training up its volunteer workforce – formally known as Police Specials, of which there are currently about 200 employed to work 16-hours each month – to be able to work such events.
This is so they know how to correctly handle and manage potentially tension-filled situations.
GMP says that around 30 Police Specials completed their level two training over four days at the police force’s specialist training centre in Openshaw this week.
This means they can now be deployed at high-profile events.
Chief Superintendent Chris Hill, who is the strategic lead at GMP, say Police Specials play an “important role” for the police force, as they often join response teams or are put to good use by providing a link between local Greater Manchester communities and GMP.
“Special constables have the same powers and look the same as regular officers,” CS Hill explained, “but the difference is they are volunteers and can have regular jobs as well.
“The specials that completed the training are now highly-trained in tactics, as well as how to use equipment including helmets and shields, and can be deployed to high-profile football matches and events or demonstrations where there is an increase in tension.
“We hope this will make joining GMP as a special a more interesting and exciting prospect.”
Mike Walmsley, who is GMP’s Chief Officer and oversees the Special Constabulary, added how great it is to see a “continued investment” in the special constables.
He continued: “Having a team trained to public order level two allows us to further support our colleagues.
“[It will also] unlock more of the potential that the Special Constabulary has.
“We have already started to map out structured learning and supplied them with laptops and, coupled with further opportunities, this will allow our officers to develop further and support in existing and new areas.”