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Monday 29 May 2017

Martyn Hett draws in the crowds as we celebrate the 'Iconic' Corrie fan

I made the journey to the vigil for Martyn Hett on Sunday to pay my respects and show my support to his family and friends. I didn’t know Martyn as well as a lot of you, but he was, in my eyes, the head of the Corrie fandom and I was distraught when I found out he’d died in the Manchester blast. It took a while for it to sink in that we’d never be able to see more of his silliness on YouTube, laugh at his hilarious and sarcastic Tweets, follow what amazing things he was doing next in life or bump into him and his entourage on Canal Street in Manchester. It was even more tragic that Martin was due to travel to the US in the week he died, I’m sure he’d have taken America by storm. In fact I know he would have.


As I approached Heaton Moor Park, just North of Manchester City centre, I heard a roar of laughter. And it really was a roar. There were SO MANY people at the vigil. I walked in through the gates into the crowd and joined the celebration of Martyn’s life.

On stage at the front of the park were Martyn’s closest family and friends. I felt a lump in my throat as I stood in awe of their bravery. They told stories, joked about things Martyn used to say and do, how his ex-boyfriend had to pursue him for some time before Martyn finally agreed to start a relationship, and how a friend once told Martyn they were going through a rough time so he travelled hundreds of miles to cheer them up, but they never actually talked about the problem, they just went out and had fun. That was Martyn’s way so that was generally the mood of the vigil.

But it was also sombre at times, small groups of friends huddled and cuddled, especially when a local choir started to belt out emotive classics like Man in the Mirror. I had my trusty sunglasses to hide my tears, as I'd done they day before when arriving in Manchester to the strangest atmosphere. It was like Mancunians were determined not to let recent events keep them down. But once the floodgates open, it's hard not to sob a little and try to find a way understand recent events. That was the case too at Martyn's vigil.

Cast and crew of Coronation Street were at the vigil too. In the week following Martyn’s death they’d referred to Martyn as ‘a friend of the show’. And he was. Jennie McAlpine, writer Furquan Akhtar, Dolly-Rose Campbell, Shobna Gulati and exec producer Kate Oates were all present, among others to show their respects. They held up the letters 'ICONIC' as people listened to the choir and began to light candles as the sun set over South Manchester.

Martyn's step father ended the family's speeches with these words, which I think help encourage us all to live life to the fullest like Martyn did: 'I see Martyn as a comet hurtling through the universe. At some point that comet had to crash, but we can now all pick up a little piece of that comet and take it away with us. We can all BE MORE MARTYN'.

I will.



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