A fundraising page has been set up for the homeless man who rushed to help the victims of the Manchester terror attack.
Chris Parker was begging outside the arena as crowds left the Ariana Grande concert on Monday when he was knocked to the floor by the explosion.
The 33-year-old, who has been sleeping rough for a year, instinctively ran towards the scene.
“I saw a little girl…she had no legs,” he said. “I wrapped her in one of the merchandise T-shirts and I said ‘where is your mummy and daddy?’
She said ‘My dad is at work, my mum is up there’.” He also found a woman with serious leg and head injuries. “She passed away in my arms. She was in her 60s and said she had been with her family,” he recalled, adding that he “hasn’t stopped crying”.
“The most shocking part is that it was a kids’ concert. There were nuts and bolts all over the floor. People had holes in their back,” he said.
“It’s the screams I can’t get over and the smell. I don’t like to stay it but it smelled like burning flesh. I don’t think anything has sunk in yet. It’s just shock.”
‘It is unacceptable to have a hero on the streets’
People have so far donated over £1,400 to the GoFundMe page, which was launched on Tuesday afternoon by Michael Johns from Nottingham.
“Like many others I have been horrified by the news from Manchester,” he said.
“Amongst the sad details, Chris Parker’s story has stood out for me and compelled me to make an effort to help one of our most vulnerable in society who showed great selflessness and courage.
“Homelessness is this country is a widespread tragedy but it is absolutely unacceptable that someone who can react so heroically in such a terrifying situation should be on the streets. Hopefully this campaign will go some way to helping Chris off the streets and also show our gratitude for his actions.”
Johns is not currently in contact with Chris but is making efforts to track him down through the Press Association journalists responsible for reporting his story.
He promises to return all donations should Parker not be found.
Not the only hero
Another homeless man, Stephen Jones, also stepped in to help.
“There were children with blood all over them, crying and screaming,” he told ITV News.
“We were having to pull nails out of their arms and a couple out of this little girl’s face.
“Just because I’m homeless it doesn’t mean that I haven’t got a heart and I’m not human still. It’s just instinct to go and help. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself for walking away and leaving kids like that.”
Raising money for the families
Twenty-two people were killed and at least another 59 needed hospital treatment after a lone suicide bomber detonated an “improvised explosive device” shortly after 10.30pm.
The man, who is yet to be named by authorities, died in the blast.
Manchester Evening News readers have raised more than £275,000 in five hours to support the families of those affected by the bombing. You can donate to the JustGiving page here.
Practical information from authorities
Anyone who needs help or assistance after last night’s incident at Manchester Arena help is available at the Etihad Stadium access Gate 11
An emergency number is available for those who are concerned about loved ones or anyone who may have been in the area – 0161 856 9400
Police have asked public to avoid area as emergency services are still working
Police have asked people not to speculate about attacker’s name
Some police Twitter accounts have requested people to shows sensitivity towards victims and avoid sharing graphic pictures
No trains to or from Manchester Victoria station – travel updates here