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Manchester Attack Survivors Excluded From Benefit

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A family who survived the terrorist attack in Manchester, England, said they were not able to attend the benefit concert taking place -- which offered free admittance to survivors -- because they bought the tickets for the original concert on a resale website.

Laura Smith said she paid for tickets to Ariana Grande's Manchester show through a site called Get Me In -- and paid almost twice face value for tickets for her daughters and partner. The show ended in a suicide bombing that killed 19 people, and Grande subsequently planned a benefit concert in the city.

Because Smith bought her tickets through the resale site, she said she was not able to secure free tickets to the benefit because she didn't have access to the original reference number.

"I've been trying to find the original purchaser on Facebook, but I've had messages from other people who were there last Monday who don't want to go to the benefit concert," she told Mirror. "They've said they're going to claim for the free tickets anyway then I can buy them off them -- I thought that's unfair, people are going to be making a hell of a lot of money out of this, when that's not what it was about. The poor children who have had to witness it all -- it's just such a shame."

Ticketmaster, through which original tickets were sold for the concert, said in a statement to Daily Mail that people purchasing tickets from outside sellers would still be able to register for free admittance. 

"We are doing everything possible to extend the offer to all fans we can verify were at the show," the statement read.

Smith told Mirror that the attack the night of the concert was like "something from a movie." Her oldest daughter, Lehanna, almost went to the bathroom before Grande's encore but her mother convinced her to wait until the end.

"And thank God we did because the last song finished and it was literally seconds later that the bomb went off. Luke and I looked at each other and just thought, 'Oh God,'" she said. 

"In the moment I don't know how we stayed so calm, but it was the reaction from everyone else -- the screaming and the fear on people's faces. I just picked my youngest up, grabbed my eldest and we got swamped. We couldn't control our own bodies, we got taken by the crowd. Luckily we managed to keep hold of the girls -- I had Lehanna by the fingertips at one point because she was getting pulled away from me."

Smith said the smell from the explosion was unlike anything she'd ever smelled before.

"I'm only small so I was getting lifted off my feet. The stewards were shouting: 'Just get out, get out,' but you didn't know what you were walking out to. My partner kept telling the girls: 'Don't worry.' We just wanted to get out of the city, we didn't know what else was going to happen," she said.

"Even as we were running out they were saying: 'Mummy, is Ariana Grande OK?' and that's all they were bothered about. We told them they could write her a letter to make them feel more at ease."

Sources: Daily Mail, Mirror / Photo credit: Berisik Commons

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