Concert joy for young fans after tickets land at 11th hour

Ariana Grande who returned to England for the I Love Manchester benefit concert for victims of the bombing.
Ariana Grande who returned to England for the I Love Manchester benefit concert for victims of the bombing.

Bitter disappointment turned to tears of joy for five young Burnley schoolgirls when they received tickets for yesterday's I Love Manchester concert at the 11th hour.

The girls, who were all at the Manchester Arena for the Ariana Grande concert when the bomb went off, were offered free tickets for the gig with everyone who had attended.

Rachel Dand (left) at the I Love Manchester concert with her daughter Leah (front) and her pal, Bella Whittaker with her mum, Mary Potter.

Rachel Dand (left) at the I Love Manchester concert with her daughter Leah (front) and her pal, Bella Whittaker with her mum, Mary Potter.

But the high volume of people registering for the tickets and rumours that unscrupulous touts were also claiming for them, left many genuine fans high and dry as Ticketmaster struggled to process the claims, despite working through the night.

News that she had tickets came through at 2pm on Saturday for Nicola Watson who went along yesterday with her daughters, Alice (15), 12-year-old Emily and Alice's pal, Holly Needham. All are pupils at Burnley's Blessed Trinity RC College.

Nicola said the horrific experience had affected the girls so much they had not wanted to return to Manchester, let alone go to another concert.

She said: "It was a very emotional day but I am so glad we did it.

"I am very proud of my kids."

The televised concert featured Ariana Grande and an array of stars including Coldplay, Liam Gallagher, Robbie Williams, Myley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry who all performed for free.

Social media was flooded with posts about the concert as it was such an emotional occasion.

Also in the audience were Rachel Dand with her daughter Leah (11) and her pal Bella Whittaker, also 11. The paid are classmates at Blessed Trinity. They were joined by Bella's mum, Mary Potter after they received their tickets on Saturday evening.

Mary said: "We had given up hope on the tickets with just hours to go so the girls were overjoyed when we found out we had got them."

Rachel said they felt privileged to be part of such an "amazing" night.

"The concert was emotional but there was also a very loving, friendly atmosphere.

"People were extremely kind, friendly and warm towards each other, it was not at all like a normal concert where you feel detached from people."

Young mum Lianna Shutt, who hit the headlines across the world when she rescued a man and his daughter who were injured in the bomb attack, was also there yesterday with her 10-year-old daughter Broganjean.

They were lucky enough to get tickets without any problems.

Currently being treated at Liverpool's Alder Hey children's hospital for a serious infection linked to joint problems she suffers from, Broganjean was only given the all clear by medics to attend the show just a couple of hours before.

Lianna (29) said: "It was amazing but daunting also."

Lianna has kept in touch with Gary, the man she helped and his daughter, Amy who are now both being treated in hospital in their home city of Birmingham. Sadly, neither was not well enough to attend the concert yesterday.