Real Life

Dad of 14-year-old girl injured in Manchester attack describes his terror as phone cut off in explosion

Rockey McGovern has spoken of his sheer panic after his wife's phone call with 14-year-old Ella cut off in the explosion at Manchester Arena

14-year-old Ella McGovern had just had the time of her life watching Ariana Grande at the Manchester Arena.

She called her mum Louise to let her know it had finished, when there was a loud sudden bang and the phone call cut off.

Panicking, Louise called her husband Rockey, who was up in Scotland, and he immediately flew down to Manchester to be with his family.

Rockey explained to Rossendale Free Press that he had fallen asleep, waking up at around 10.30pm to around eight missed calls.

His wife had told him that Ella said she was going into the foyer to buy some t-shirts when the phone had suddenly cut off.

He said: "Ella then rang me saying, 'Daddy, daddy, I can't move my legs. There's blood everywhere. There's been an explosion. I can’t move', and then her phone went dead."

The dad explained his next moments of absolute terror: "I decided to get dressed, get in the car and drive down. I had to. I had family ringing me all the way down. I then met Ella and Louise at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital."

Rockey, who works in the military, explained that Ella had been taken to Manchester Children's Hospital by an "amazing" woman who looked after her and called the ambulance for her.

Ella is fundraising for her local hospice (Credit: Just Giving/ Louise McGovern)

He went on to explain that Ella was only about 15m away from the blast, and may have been shielded by other people closer to the explosion - which may have saved her life.

The 39-year-old explained that Ella has eight shrapnel insertions or lacerations on her legs, some of which have required stitches.

He said: "She was in the foyer where the main explosion happened and from what she's mentioned people directly in front of her took the brunt of the blast.

"I think she was in the region of about 15m from the blast. I think both her ears are perforated. She had all the debris on her. She was absolutely covered head to toe in filth and blood. Pain-wise she is quite a tough little cookie but she's let out quite a few snippets of information about what she's seen.

"She was on the floor and had to brush other people off her to get out of the foyer area."

Manchester's Victoria train station was being used as a makeshift paramedic dock (Credit: Getty Images)

The brave 14-year-old was supposed to be taking part in a sponsored walk up Ben Nevis to raise money for their local hospice, Rossendale Hospice, this Bank Holiday weekend.

But the determined girl is planning to carry on the walk as soon as she is better. She wrote on her Just Giving page: "I will be walking Ben Nevis during the summer of 2017, or as soon as I recover fully following being injured at the Manchester arena. I had planned to complete the walk this May Bank Holiday weekend with my Mum and Dad and two cousins, Jamie and Sarah.

"Initially, this was a personal challenge, but after the events that sadly happened at the Manchester Arena this week, I would like to take this opportunity to raise more for a very worthwhile cause. The Hospice has and will continue to provide excellent support to all those involved in the attack by providing counselling and support at school."

Best of luck, Ella. ❤️

Donate to Ella's campaign here.

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