‘Beautiful inside and out’ – family of Kelly Brewster, killed in the Manchester Arena attack, pay tribute on the anniversary

Date published: 22 May 2018 10:54
Dated: 22 May 2018 11:45:06

Today, we join Greater Manchester Police in remembering the 22 lives lost in the Manchester Arena attack on 22 May 2017.

Kelly Brewster, from Sheffield, was killed in the attack while her niece Hollie was seriously injured.

Our officers continue to provide support to the Brewster family and our thoughts are with everyone who was affected by the events of that evening.

A statement, released from Kelly and Hollie’s family on the anniversary of the attack is below:

“One year on from losing Kelly and she’s still in our thoughts every single day. Everyone who knew her misses her so much.

“She was the happiest she had ever been and had been making plans for her life, with her partner, her friends and her family. She was so excited and it had all been going to plan before 22 May 2017 when she was cruelly taken away from us.

“At just under 5ft tall, Kelly might have been small but her personality, attitude and passion for life – and boy bands! – were anything but that. Her work colleagues at Aviva called her a pocket rocket in skyscraper heels and we couldn’t agree more. She was a total firecracker, really independent and opinionated.

“She was so independent that she travelled alone around the world, joining organised groups back-packing in Australia and America. She loved travelling and made some great friends along the way, many of who sent kind messages from across the world for her funeral.

“It’s really hard to think about the past year and everything she’s missed out on and key milestones we’ll now never be able to share with her. We’ve already lived through a birthday and Christmas without her. Kelly and her partner Ian had put a deposit down on a new house on the day of the attack and if she was still with us now they would have been living in that house, possibly married and maybe with a baby on the way. She was so excited to continue her life with Ian and his daughter Phoebe, to start a family together and they had been trying for a baby which we were all so happy about.

“Our thoughts go out to everyone who was affected by the attack last year, particularly those families who lost loved ones. Kelly was such a beautiful person inside and out and she will forever be in our hearts and thoughts.”

- The family of Kelly Brewster

“Kelly met Ian at her 30th birthday party and they instantly clicked, they were clearly meant to be together. They would leave little notes around the house for when the other got home and just absolutely worshipped each other. We’re so pleased she found her soulmate in Ian but it’s heart-breaking to think they only had three years together.  

“Ian had to make room for the other loves in Kelly’s life though – music and boybands. From East 17 to One Direction she loved music and going to concerts, although when she went to see New Kids on the Block, her first concert, she fell asleep – despite being right near the front! She went to concerts across the country and even travelled to Las Vegas to watch J-Lo.

“She was also obsessed with Gareth Gates, so much so that she had a life-size poster of him in her house, her own house as an adult! We used to laugh so much about it and tease her but she really liked him.

“Kelly also tried to teach her niece’s Demi and Hollie the lyrics to her favourite songs and we have videos of them singing to New Kids on the Block with her. She was such a massive part of their lives, they adored her and just wanted to be around her all the time.


“On one occasion she rang her sister Claire laughing her head off because Demi had put a bowl over Hollie’s head and cut her hair – she just had two spiky bits sticking up! Claire was absolutely mortified but Kelly thought it was hilarious. Although Kelly is no longer with them, they’ve both got pictures up in their rooms and the teddy bears given to them by medical staff after the attack are called Kelly Bears – they go everywhere with them.

“Reminders like that are around us every day and it can only take one little thing to bring us right back to that Monday evening. Kelly, Hollie and Claire had gone to the concert and we, her mum and dad, were at home when we got a call from Claire, saying a bomb had gone off and Hollie and Kelly were injured. We went straight to the arena and parked up nearby but were told to go to the hospital. When we got there, neither Kelly, Hollie or Claire had arrived and it was only days later we realised that our girls were still inside the arena when we parked up. Kelly had died and Hollie and Claire were both seriously injured. Thinking of this, and how close we were to them, breaks our hearts as we just wanted to be with them and be close to them.

“The support we’ve had since Kelly left us has been amazing. So many people have sent kind messages and raised money for Manchester Children’s Hospital, where Claire and Hollie were treated, which we are so appreciative of. We’d also like to thank the emergency services, to all of the staff on PHDU and Ward 77 of the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, and the staff at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, they were all just superb. We’d also like to thank DC Lisa Kramer and DC Kate Naughton, as well as Lisa Carter, a case worker from the homicide victim support service, who have supported us over the last 12 months. We don’t know what we’d have done without them.

“Our thoughts go out to everyone who was affected by the attack last year, particularly those families who lost loved ones. Kelly was such a beautiful person inside and out and she will forever be in our hearts and thoughts.”

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