Jason Manford has revealed a family friend is still missing after the Manchester Arena terror attack hours after he broke down in tears in an emotional Facebook Live. The comedian revealed that one of those who is still missing after the atrocity claimed 22 lives, Martyn Hett, is a family friend. He tweeted ‘Friend of my family is still missing. He’s called Martyn Hett, he was wearing a retro shirt and has a Deidre Barlow tattoo on his ankle/calf.’ PR manager Martyn, who once won Come Dine With Me and also appeared on Tattoo Fixers, posted on social media himself from within venue before the explosion. He told ‘When you sneak out for a toilet break on the Macy Gray song and the entire arena had the same idea #DangerousWomanTour’
Jason, originally from Greater Manchester, appeared on Facebook Live to talk to his fans for the event, which took place at the end of an Ariana Grande concert with thousands of children in attendance. Unable to hold back his tears, Jason explained to his five children are fans of the American pop singer and that had he known she was performing it was likely he would have taken them. It was the point the comedian broke down in tears. ‘They want your life to change. For 20 people tonight there’s an empty bed in each of their houses… god. Unfortunately hatred is winning – it won’t win though but at the moment it is,’ the comedian said. A visibly shaken Jason paid tribute to the courageous emergency services who rushed to scene to save lives. While most people were fleeing the scene, they were running towards the danger zone he added. The Facebook Live post, which lasted 40 min, saw the comedian experience a range of emotions including confusion, grief and anger too.
He told he could not understand why a solution to the terror problem had yet to be discovered, adding that it needed ‘someone cleverer than us’ to think of one. Jason told later in Facebook post ‘I’m so sorry about all those injured and who’s (sic) lives have been devastated by his act of cowardice and for all the young people who will never go to another concert in their lives because of this horrible night and will be effected (sic) psychologically forever. Total respect for our amazing emergency services who run towards trouble and danger when every natural fibres must be telling them to go the other way. The stewards at the Arena who stayed and did their job and helped people out to safety.
‘And to those legends who made me proud to be Mancunian by offering rooms and lifts home in people’s desperate hour of need. Made me realise that although they think these events make us weaker, they actually bring us together as a community and eventually make us stronger. My thoughts also go to Ariana Grande who must be absolutely devastated. My children adore her and she must be inconsolable today. I hope she knows that she gave so many people an evening of joy and fun and even in those few peoples last moments their hearts would have been full with the happiness she gave them.’
Following the attack, Jason and comic John Bishop have postponed a charity gig in Manchester. The duo were to take to the stage on Saturday night at The Lowry in city, but will now perform in October. In a statement, Manford told ‘After consulting with the charity and the venue, myself and John Bishop have decided to postpone our charity show for the Children’s Adventure Farm (CAFT) this Saturday night at The Lowry in Manchester out of respect for those who lost their lives in last night’s atrocity. Our hearts are broken for those poor families who have been left devastated by the cowardly attack and our love and respect goes to the emergency services and civilians who helped in this city’s darkest hour. Like the great city of Manchester, our comedy gig will be back on Monday 16 October and we will raise even more money to help disadvantaged, disabled and terminally ill in the North West.’