A man left paralysed by the Manchester Arena bombing has taken his first steps four years on from the attack.
Martin Hibbert, from Chorley, was at the Ariana Grande concert on May 22nd 2017 with his daughter Eve, then fourteen, when a terrorist detonated a bomb, claiming the lives of twenty-two people and injuring hundreds more.
Martin and Eve were stood just five metres away from the attacker when he detonated his device, with Martin being hit by twenty-two pieces of shrapnel, some of which severed his spinal cord.
As a result of this, Martin was left paralysed from the waist down and was told by doctors that he would never walk again.
But now, thanks to revolutionary technology, Martin has been able to take his first steps since the devastating attack; using an Exoskeleton, a wearable machine that helps people with spinal cord injuries to move, Martin was able to stand up straight and walk for the first time in four years.
He shared the incredible footage of his first steps on Twitter, writing: “Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won and all the fears you have overcome.”
He later spoke to ITV Granada about his achievement, saying: “To be stood up straight was mentally amazing. I wanted that video to inspire people.
“That, actually, technology is changing on a daily basis and there are hopefully big changes coming in research for spinal cord injuries.”
But this isn’t the end of Martin’s journey; next year, he will be climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa, to raise £1M for Spinal Injuries Association, whom he is an ambassador for.
He said on his mission: “They’ve helped me live a fulfilled life over the last four years so I wanted to give something back – and there’s nothing crazier than doing Mt Kilimanjaro!
“Hopefully, all the viewers in the North West, I want them to be behind me. I’m not going to be able to do it without their generous support.”
Martin is scheduled to set off for Tanzania next year on June 2nd, 2022. You can follow his journey and donate here.
Woman seriously injured after being attacked by four of her own dogs
Armed police officers, fire crews and an ambulance were called out to diffuse the situation
A woman in St Helens has been left seriously injured after being mauled by what is believed to be four of her own dogs.
Merseyside Police were called out to the Sutton area at around 10am yesterday, December 6th, following reports of a woman being attacked by her four dogs, each of which were initially described as bulldogs.
Armed response officers, Merseyside fire service crews and an ambulance were also sent to the scene.
The four dogs have been seized and the woman remains in hospital with ‘serious’ injuries, Merseyside Police said.
The force added in a statement: “Emergency services are in attendance in Sutton today, Monday 6 December.
“At around 10.15am, police were called to the Reginald Road area to a report of a woman being attacked by her four dogs, initially described as bulldogs.
“The woman sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital. The dogs have been seized by Merseyside Police.
“Enquiries into the incident are ongoing. Anyone who has any information is asked to contact us via @MerPolCC or 101 with reference 21000844839.”
The woman’s neighbours have since been describing the scene, with one telling the Liverpool Echo: “You should have seen it before, the whole street was filled with police, ambulance and everything, it was mad.”
Another resident down the street noted: “It’s normally a nice estate so it’s obviously really surprising when something like this goes on.”
Government to review Omicron Covid rules on December 21st
The rules are expected to stay in place until the new year
The rules and regulations brought in to tackle the Omicron variant of Covid-19 will reportedly be reviewed on December 21st.
According to new reports today, while the rules will be reviewed four days before Christmas Day, they are unlikely to be lifted and will instead be kept in force until the new year.
It has also been suggested that the government’s Plan B – which will enforce mandatory masks in pubs and restaurants and advice to work from home – is not yet needed.
A Government source told the MailOnline: “In terms of Plan B, we are not there yet. The ambition is that people can have a much more normal Christmas than last year.
“That depends on what the data shows about the new variant. But certainly the hope is that things stay as they are in the next couple of weeks.”
The current rules mean face masks in shops, hairdressers, banks and post offices are now mandatory, as well as on public transport.
The rules also require anyone who comes into contact with someone who tests positive for Omicron to quarantine for ten days – even those who are fully vaccinated.
However, a Sage scientist recently said the new variant is ‘not a disaster’, and that ‘some people may be ‘hugely overstating the situation’.
Microbiologist Prof Calum Semple says vaccines are ‘still likely to protect you from severe disease’, telling BBC Breakfast: “This is not a disaster, and the headlines from some of my colleagues saying ‘this is horrendous’ I think are hugely overstating the situation.
“Immunity from the vaccination is still likely to protect you from severe disease. You might get a snuffle or a headache or a filthy cold but your chance of coming into hospital or intensive care or sadly dying are greatly diminished by the vaccine and still will be going into the future.”
Stevenson Square set to be fully pedestrianised and turned into a proper public square under new plans
Local residents have been encouraged to come forward and contribute towards the planning of the new space
Plans to permanently pedestrianise the Northern Quarter’s Stevenson Square have been released to the public.
A large proportion of the popular square has been closed off from traffic since last summer, when the council closed several roads to encourage pedestrians back into the city centre.
It was also hoped that the closure of roads would help bars, restaurants and cafes to expand out into the streets to enable social distancing throughout the pandemic.
Yet while some city centre road closures were reversed in October when the emergency Covid legislation came to an end, many roads remained closed around the Northern Quarter after the council were put under pressure deliver improved walking and cycling routes.
And Stevenson Square was one of them, with new plans for the area released detailing proposals for at least twenty new trees, seating, bike racks, a ‘rain garden’ and sustainable draining systems.
Further trees could potentially be planted subject to future surveys to find optimum space, and make allowances for underground utilities.
Traffic will still be able to pass through Lever Street but, where it would usually meet the square, the road will instead become a raised carriageway with a controlled pedestrian crossing.
Jon-Connor Lyons, Labour councillor for the Piccadilly ward, said on the plans: “We really welcome this final consultation on the proposals to permanently pedestrianise Stevenson Square.
“The Northern Quarter is a tightly-packed neighbourhood with buildings of various heights, history and architectural merits, though it is lacking public space for people to relax.
“What I’d like to see is more non-commercial seating in the square that is also age-friendly, as well as a friendly environment for artists and creatives to help further the space. I encourage residents to come forward and contribute towards the planning of this space.”
Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Environment, added: “I’m incredibly pleased that we’re able to take the next step towards creating a more accessible and thriving Northern Quarter.
“Making more space available for people to walk and cycle as well as introducing more green space were just two of the many priorities highlighted to us by residents and businesses throughout the consultations we’ve run.”
For more information and to have your say on the pedestrianisation, visit the Manchester City Council website here.