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Manchester Arena Inquiry: Music 'was Olivia Campbell-Hardy's life'

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  • Manchester Arena attack inquiry
image copyrightFamily handout
image captionOlivia Campbell-Hardy had "a smile which could cheer anyone up", her father said

A teenager killed in the Manchester Arena bombing attended the venue after being given a spare ticket, an inquiry has heard.

Olivia Campbell-Hardy, 15, from Bury, was among three friends "in the running" for a spot at the Ariana Grande concert before the bombing.

Her grandfather told the inquiry into the attack that she was given the ticket a few days before the event.

Steve Goodman said "the others didn't stand a chance" of getting the ticket.

He said his granddaughter was a "determined young lady" and "music was her life".

Families have been presenting "pen portraits" at the inquiry for the final day.

The portraits are designed to give an insight into the lives of those who died.

Twenty-two people were killed in the bombing in May 2017.

  • What is the Manchester Arena inquiry?
  • Relatives to give 'pen portraits' to arena inquiry

Mr Goodman said without Olivia the "void in their lives is immense" and life had "changed forever".

The 15-year-old, who wanted to be a music teacher, loved singing and dancing, was "boisterous and loud" but also "gentle", he said.

Mr Goodman said Olivia had not always been well-behaved but managed to "turn it around with her humour".

A slideshow of photographs documenting Olivia's life was also shown on a screen while songs featuring Olivia herself singing were played at the hearing at Manchester Magistrates' Court.

image copyrightFamily handouts
image captionTwenty-two people were killed in the Manchester Arena bombing

The court heard how Olivia had enjoyed "hanging out with her grandparents".

Mr Goodman said she had changed her plans so she could go on holiday with them but instead he had identified her body that week.

Olivia was known for singing at large family gatherings and loved musicals, he said.

'Always gave 100%'

He said he was "proud to be her Papa" and "our lives have changed forever".

Mr Goodman also read a tribute from Olivia's father Andrew Hardy who, the court heard, was watching from an annexe.

He said she "always gave 100%", had a wonderful sense of humour, and was "full-on" from the moment she woke up until she went to sleep.

She had been dancing since the age of three and had sung at the Manchester Arena with Bury Young Voices singing group.

Olivia was a "loving child who liked to help people" and had "a smile which could cheer anyone up", the court heard.

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionJane Tweddle's daughters said she was full of laughter and love

The inquiry also heard from the three daughters of Jane Tweddle, 51, who was originally from Hartlepool.

A statement from Isabelle, Harriet and Lily Taylor was read by their representative Adam Pater.

They said their "warrior" mother made sure they grew up in a house "full of laughter" and she "always knew how to brighten someone's day and make them feel loved".

The court heard Ms Tweddle loved to cook, had "spontaneous ideas" and anyone who spent "even five minutes" with her would be "forever changed, and always for the better."

Ms Tweddle, a secondary school receptionist in Blackpool, was "friendly and full of life" and "made for her job", the inquiry heard.

'Love you endlessly'

Her daughters said when they would ask her for the time their mother would reply: "It's the time of your life - never forget it."

"We'll hold on to that forever...we love you endlessly, now we all have an angel to call by name," they said.

Ms Tweddle's mother Margaret Tweddle said what happened that night in Manchester was "evil" and "we won't let evil win. Jane wouldn't want that".

"Not a day goes by that I don't miss her smile, laughter and love of life," she said.

In the final pen portrait of the inquiry Alison Howe's best friend Tracy Green read her own tributes and one from Ms Howe's mother, Sue Cann.

Ms Howe, 45, from Royton, Oldham, was killed while waiting in the arena foyer with her friend, Lisa Lees, who also died.

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionAlison Howe adored her family, the inquiry heard

Ms Green said everyone thought their best friend was perfect but "mine really was".

"She made everyone laugh and smile, even when it wasn't appropriate."

The court heard "talented musician" Ms Howe had been close to her mother Sue and had lived on the same street.

"She would come over and stick her face on the window to let me know she was there - even when she knew it drove me mad, and she would walk through the door laughing," Ms Cann said.

'Absolutely destroyed'

The pair would "dare each other to do daft things", go on shopping trips and spa weekends and were "always laughing", the court heard.

Ms Cann said her daughter "adored her family. Steven and the children were her everything".

Her death had left an "unbelievable" gaping hole, she said.

"We don't live anymore, we exist."

"I still turn around when someone shouts Mum and it's like being stabbed in the heart".

The court was shown a video of Alison's husband, Steven Howe.

He said he could not believe there was anybody as "caring and well-liked" as Alison who was "fantastic inside and out".

The family was "absolutely destroyed", he said, and it was "never going to get any easier".

The court heard Alison had become a mum to Stephen's four boys and had two daughters and "couldn't have done a better job".

One of the children, Harry had written a poem from her "super -six".

He said she was "always the glue" of the family and without her there would have been no laughs and no biscuits.

"So special, so wonderful, so beautiful and so true", all six children would love her forever, he said.

Martyn Hett's mother, Figen Murray earlier tweeted it had been heartbreaking to listen to the victims' stories but also a "privilege to have got to know the persons behind the names".

Inquiry chairman Sir John Saunders, thanked the families for sharing their "intensely personal memories".

He said listening to the pen portraits had been a "deeply affecting" experience and put those who had died "at the heart of this inquiry".

"They are not a number. Each was an individual, each was unique, each loss of life was a separate tragedy," he said.

The chairman will write a report and recommendations once all the evidence has been heard, which is expected to take up to six months.

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