Manchester United fans rejoiced this weekend just gone as the team beat Brighton at Wembley 7-6 to go through to an all-Manchester FA Cup final in June. But two fans who witnessed it all together were Martin Hibbert and Paul Harvey; a man who was caught up in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017, and the man who saved his life that night.
Martin was left paralysed following 22 shrapnel wounds that severed his spinal cord, with the shrapnel leaving his daughter, Eve, with a devastating brain injury. Martin is now the vice president of the Spinal Injuries Association, which supports the 50,000 people in the UK living with a spinal cord injury. Martin is also a disability advocate, and incredibly, is the second Paraplegic to summit Kilimanjaro.
He started a lasting friendship with Paul, the paramedic who saved his life after the bombing, when they realised they were both die-hard reds, and Martin made the promise that he would take Paul to an FA Cup final one day. Having stuck to his promise, the friends posed grinning ear to ear seconds after the final whistle, which Martin posted on Twitter.
In the Tweet, he said: “Everyone close to me knows Paul, as he’s the Paramedic that saved my life on the night of the Arena terrorist attack. Thank you @ManUtd for not letting me down!!! See you back here on the 3rd June”.
Recovering from a spinal injury himself after a cycling accident, Paul left the North West Ambulance Service this year to become a PCN paramedic, working to improve health and social care alongside GPs. He received the Craig Wilde Memorial Award last year, recognising dedicated service, specifically in support of colleagues and in defiance of really challenging personal circumstances, so seeing his club win at Wembley is the least he deserves.
Given the hopeful sentiment of the event, we’re hoping for a repeat when Manchester United returns to Wembley on 3rd June to face Manchester City – it’s safe to say we’re rooting for these two to be friends forever.