Manchester Arena attack victim says Ariana Grande at Pride was healing

Manchester Arena terror attack survivor says watching Ariana Grande perform at Pride was ‘healing’ – despite experiencing ‘multiple panic attacks’ and her crippling fear of crowds

  • EXCLUSIVE: Rebecca Wheble, 20, was caught up in terror attack in May 2017
  • Suicide bomber blew himself up at Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 people
  • Youtuber, who vlogs as Becca Jayne, said she was in shock afterwards for a year
  • Becca, from Manchester, is a huge Ariana fan and felt she ‘had’ to see her at Pride

A survivor of the Manchester Arena terror attack has revealed how watching Ariana Grande perform at Pride at the weekend was ‘healing’ – despite her suffering ‘multiple panic attacks’.

Brave Rebecca Wheble, 20, from Manchester, was caught up in the suicide bombing in May 2017 which claimed the lives of 22 people including young children.

The harrowing ordeal fostered a crippling fear of crowds and heightened anxiety in Rebecca – but the digital marketer and YouTuber, who vlogs under Becca Jayne, refused to let the experience get in the way of her love of concerts and the American singer.

So when Ariana was welcomed back to the city for the first time since the terror attack and subsequent benefit concert to perform at its Pride festival, Becca knew she had to go.

Brave Rebecca Wheble, 20, from Manchester, was caught up in the suicide bombing in May 2017 which claimed the lives of 22 people including young children

Speaking to FEMAIL, she explained: ‘I’ve been an Ariana fan since 2012 and have supported her through every tour and every release, so naturally I had to see her at Pride. 

‘I’ve always been a lover of Pride and what it represents, so the two went perfectly together.’

Becca attended Ariana’s concert alone in 2017, so was by herself when suicide bomber Salman Abedi set off a ball bearing bomb in the foyer area of Manchester Arena. 

‘With that came having to deal with everything on my own,’ she explained. 

The YouTuber, who blogs under Becca Jayne, refused to let the experience get in the way of her love of concerts and Ariana (pictured together at the Etihad Stadium)

‘I saw things that night that no one should ever see in their lifetimes, and it’s hard not being able to talk to anyone about what exactly I saw because no one else shared that horrendous experience with me. 

‘The first few months afterwards were a blur. I tried to deny I was there and shut it out of my memory. I refused to talk about it to anyone, and realistically that was the worst thing I could’ve done. 

‘It was only over a year later when things started to sink in. I think I was in shock for a good year or so. It was scary going out in public and having various scenarios go on in my head. Therapy definitely saved me in that sense. 

After the concert at an outdoor venue next to a disused train depot in the city centre on Sunday, Becca took to Twitter to share her experience

‘It was scary, emotional – but it’s still never stopped me from going to concerts. Resilience and strength is key.’

After the concert at an outdoor venue next to a disused train depot in the city centre on Sunday, Becca took to Twitter to share her experience.  

‘Last night was hard,’ she tweeted. ‘Despite having multiple panic attacks, conquering everything that happened at Manchester and queuing for 13 hours in the 30 degree heat, it was all worth it. 

‘This was so magical, healing and overall amazing.’

Ariana Grande, pictured performing at the Manchester Arena before suicide bomber Salman Abedi set off a ball bearing bomb in the foyer area

Becca attended the One Love Manchester concert which Ariana played as a tribute to those affected by the attack in May 2017

Speaking to FEMAIL, Becca told how the performer gave the crowd a ‘sense of security’.

‘There’s something magical about Ariana on stage,’ she said. ‘She makes you feel like you’re safe.

‘She showed that at One Love two years ago, and did it again on Sunday. Not many artists can make you feel that way. It’s pretty special.’

This time Becca went to watch the singer with friends who were also caught up in the terror attack – but it was the kindness of strangers which she described as ‘phenomenal’. 

‘Everyone round me and my friends were amazing,’ she said. ‘At the end of the day, it’s Pride and a celebration of the LGBTQ community. 


Becca went to watch the singer at Pride (pictured) with friends who were also caught up in the terror attack – but it was the kindness of strangers which she described as ‘phenomenal’

This time Becca went to watch the singer with friends who were also caught up in the terror attack – but it was the kindness of strangers which she described as ‘phenomenal’

‘Everyone was so welcoming. The support around me and my friends was phenomenal after they realised we were at Manchester two years ago. 

‘We ended up holding hands, being there for each other and just dancing with one another. These were complete strangers, now they’re my friends. It’s so amazing.’

Prior to the terror attack, Becca had already been diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder and depression, but she said it ‘definitely got worse’ afterwards.

‘It’s hard putting myself in situations were I’m scared of the unknown,’ she said. 

As a tribute to the 22 people who lost their lives on May 21 two years ago, Becca got the ‘ribbon memorial’ tattoo on her wrist

‘To say Sunday was hard is an understatement. At the end of the day, it’s my body’s way of trying to keep myself safe, which is why it was so good to be able to have people around me who understood. 

‘They let me breathe and were so understanding. We did it – and I’m so proud of that.’ 

As a tribute to the 22 people who lost their lives on May 21 two years ago, earlier this year Becca got the ‘ribbon memorial’ tattoo on her wrist.  

‘It’s a symbol of strength and that love always wins,’ she said. ‘I think that’s the most important reminder to come out of this. Love will always be stronger than hate.’ 

Follow Becca on Twitter or visit her YouTube page.

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