David Adamson listens to moving words from the Martyn’s Law campaigner
The annual Pride of Manchester awards took place on Thursday 10 May. Every winner was testament to the compassion and decency of the people across this city.
While the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel provided a grand setting, the pizzazz never overshadowed why we had turned out in our finest clobber - to celebrate the selfless work of extraordinary Mancunians.
The government have no choice because I’m making a nuisance of myself
Awards were given in honour of fundraisers for street children and cherished NHS hospitals, charities championing the empowerment of women and the bravery of an off-duty police officer, amongst other equally worthy winners.
Receiving a Special Recognition award was Figen Murray, who after her son Martyn Hett died, aged 29 in the Manchester Arena bombing has campaigned tirelessly for Martyn’s Law, in which venues must meet a set of requirements to ensure public safety.
Figen said that while the law will be another force for positive change from the city, her campaigning began in a moment that saw her perspective on the horror of that night change for the better.
“Hopefully this law will be something that the people of Manchester can be proud of because it’s come about due to an event that happened here,” she said. “I think it's important to always look at the very big picture in any situation and that's what I did when Martin died.
“I had a lucid, clear moment that day where I thought about the terrorist as a new-born baby. I thought, ‘You were born innocent, and somebody poisoned your mind at some point’, and that was a reason for me being able to fairly easily forgive him.”
In her nearly half a decade of campaigning Figen has outlasted six security ministers, two home secretaries and is now on her fourth prime minister, and explained how it feels to be campaigning for the sort of change Martyn’s Law will bring about.
“It feels quite a responsibility,” she said. “When I started it was meant to be a six month campaign, never in a million years did I think that four and a half years later I'd still be talking to government officials about this - including Rishi Sunak, Suella Braverman, Priti Patel and all those security ministers. If somebody had told me that at the time I would have laughed about it, but this is now my reality, and it's quite a responsibility to see it through to the end.
“The government has no choice because I’m making a nuisance of myself. I said to Rishi Sunak in December, ‘I've now ended up as an activist and I need to do what I need to do. You are the prime minister, you need to do your job’. Until the legislation is done, I will keep the pressure on. Manchester has a strong tradition of people making nuisances of themselves.”
Keep your eyes on Manchester Confidential for David’s full rundown of the evening’s celebrations, from the award acceptances to the red carpet and what was served up for dinner.
The M.E.N Pride of Britain Awards will be available to watch from 15 May, via the official Pride of Britain social media channels: @prideofbritain. To find out more visit: www.prideofbritain.com/Manchester
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