Figen Murray, whose 29-year-old son Martyn Hett was among the 22 killed in 2017, said a 50p per ticket tax could raise £1m a year so venues can buy essential equipment.
The mother of a Manchester Arena bombing victim has called on big music venues to add a 50p tax to tickets to improve security.
Figen Murray, whose 29-year-old son Martyn Hett was among the 22 killed in 2017, said the tax could raise £1m a year for each venue to buy essential equipment.
And today, the anti-terror activist reveals that new legislation to improve training and security at concerts will go before parliamentarians in a few weeks.
Figen, 62, who has fought for five years for reforms called Martyn’s Law, said: “This would be the biggest change we could achieve on Martyn’s behalf.
“Had security been better, Martyn and many others could still be here.
“I have dedicated every second I have to how we can make positive change to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.
“Rishi Sunak told me that Martyn’s Law will be presented in front of the house in early spring, so we are very, very close to the change. It is a big step towards its application at the national level.
“If someone tells me that places can’t afford better security, I’m afraid that’s nonsense. They could recoup the money by charging 50p on the price of each ticket and protect that money for security.
“If the Manchester Arena had 10,000 people in the venue for four nights a week, 52 weeks a year, as they do, and charged an extra 50p per ticket, it would give them over £1m. This could pay for or lease equipment, a security director, better training.”
In a moving interview on the occasion of Mother’s Day, Figen says she hopes she has “made Martyn proud.”
She said: “I still have some Mother’s Day cards he made for me at school when I was little and they are lovely. I’m so glad I saved them.
“He is the first thing on my mind and the last thing on my mind. He is constantly in my thoughts.
“At some point during that day, I will be sitting alone and have a few moments alone to think about how much I miss him.
“I hope that by next Mother’s Day, Martyn’s Law will be in effect.”
PR worker Martyn had been in high spirits before seeing Ariana Grande at the Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017. It was supposed to be her farewell night before leaving to travel the world.
But after the show, as 20,000 fans began to leave the venue, 22-year-old Islamist fanatic Salman Abedi detonated a homemade backpack bomb filled with nuts, bolts and screws. Martyn’s body was later found with 16 pieces of shrapnel.
In addition to the dead, more than 800 people, many of them children, were injured.
Since the atrocity, former counselor Figen has traveled the world in her crusade to increase security, and was awarded an OBE by Prince William for her work at Buckingham Palace last June.
She said: “Martyn was the funniest, kindest, most loving man you will ever meet. I can still hear his cackling and his infectious laugh.
“All I do now is get change for Martyn. Every time I talk, I think of him. People come up to me and he asks me: ‘What is your job?’ I always say, ‘I’m Martyn’s mother.'”
Earlier this month, the third and final part of the investigation into the attack concluded that MI5 missed several opportunities to stop it.
The revelations have sparked outrage, with some families vowing to sue the security services.
But Figen said: “I am not angry. I don’t want to play the blame game. What happened happened.
“Nothing will bring Martyn back. He highlighted bugs and human error, but that’s what he expected. I’m moving on.” To that end, Figen travels across the country speaking to schoolchildren about radicalization.
He has now spoken to more than 25,000, including pupils at Burnage Academy for Boys in Manchester, the school Abedi attended.
Figen, from Manchester, a mother of five children and five grandchildren, said: “If my talks prevent a single child from being radicalised, then they have been a success.
“I had a very emotional moment there. After my talk with the seventh years, out of the corner of my eye I saw this boy. He ran up to me and gave me a big hug for about 45 seconds, then he looked me in the eye and said, ‘I’m sorry for your loss.’ He will stay with me forever. It’s moments like that that keep me going.”
Figen has forgiven Abedi and would have wanted to meet him if he hadn’t been killed in the attack.
Among their concerns is the growing number of women-hating incel cults online. She said: “I think more needs to be done. This is going to cause us problems in society. It is growing at an alarming rate.”
It became clear last month in an inquest into the 2021 Plymouth massacre when self-described incel Jake Davidson shot and killed five people and then himself.
Figen has made it his life’s goal to promote peace and obtain changes to his son’s name. One thing that unites the two is her fondness for knitting peace bears, which she gives away to people who have been affected by terror or who have helped her in her campaign.
The Prince and Princess of Wales, who unveiled a memorial to Manchester Arena survivors last year, are the recipients. Figen said: “I think about Martyn a lot when I knit them. I have given them to survivors of the London Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Boston Marathon and Christchurch terrorist attacks. William and Kate have one too. I hope they help promote peace, which is something Martyn would want.”
As a constant reminder of Martyn, he has planted a tree, a ginkgo biloba sapling, in a park visible from his window. She looks at him every morning when he wakes up.
For more go to figenmurray.es