Manchester attack prompts 12-year-old Shefford schoolgirl Lyra to write heart-rending tribute song ‘22 Lives’ to victims
- Credit: Archant
A 12-year-old Shefford schoolgirl has written a heart-rending song dedicated to the victims of the Manchester attack.
Lyra Smith, who attends Robert Bloomfield Academy, was prompted to write her moving song 22 Lives after a discussion with her mum Claire about the dreadful events at the Manchester Arena at the end of Ariana Grande’s concert.
Mum-of-three Claire is originally from Greater Manchester herself – and she told the Comet she had friends at the concert.
Claire said: “My friend’s cousin was saved by double doors. They were a split second behind Twitter icon Martyn Hett, who was one of those who died.
“It was dreadful. A lot of my friends now have young daughters and they were there at the concert. I woke up the next morning to loads of messages about the attacks. It was awful.
“As a parent I agonised over talking to my children about the attacks. But as Lyra and I had tickets to go to Ariana Grande’s concert at the O2 in London on the Friday, I thought it was a discussion we had to have.
“It was an emotional chat but the upshot was that I felt we had to carry on. The tickets were a Christmas present so she had been looking forward to it for months. So we went down as we had a hotel booked and had a ‘mum and daughter’ day – and went for a meal and did a bit of shopping in Westfield.
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“I just thought it was important to send our own small message that we can’t let them beat us.”
Once they were back home, talented musician Lyra – who has been teased for being a ‘tomboy’ – then took it on herself to write 22 Lives, which Claire filmed and posted on Facebook.
The response from Claire’s family and friends on social media was amazing, and friends of friends back in Manchester started circulating the video.
Martyn Hett’s stepdad Stuart Murray got to view it and posted on Facebook: “Dear Lyra. Absolutely beautiful. Martyn’s family and friends will hear this. You are amazing.”
Stunned Claire explained: “I am proud to come from Manchester. I’m proud of the amazing response from the community there and the incredible spirit, bravery and courage everyone has showed in the aftermath of such a horrific attack.
“I think Martyn Hett summed up the spirit of Manchester. I had friends who knew him and when he posted that funny tweet about his mum’s knitting it made me laugh. It’s so tragic what happened to everyone – but I do think Martyn’s life and legacy speaks volumes as his spirit perfectly summed the city up.
“He touched so many lives – as did all the victims.
“I am so proud that his stepdad got in touch to say well done to Lyra.”
Huge Manchester United fan Claire will be back in Manchester next weekend to catch up with family and friends, while also heading to Old Trafford for midfielder Michael Carrick’s testimonial. She also plans to visit St Anne’s Square to pay her respects to the victims.
Claire added; “As a mum you never know if something by your kids is any good, or whether it’s just being a proud parent.
“But when Lyra played 22 Lives to me I just burst into tears and gave her a big hug. Even her older brother Charlie, who is normally her biggest critic, said well done.
“A lot of people have suggested we try to record it as a charity single with all the proceeds going to the Manchester fund – which would be a huge honour to do.”
Lyra’s heart-wrenching lyrics include the line: “There were 22 Lives, we love all of you.”
Ariana Grande will be performing a benefit concert called One Love Manchester for the victims of the attacks at the Emirates Old Trafford. Also performing will be Take That, Coldplay, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry.