Father of Martyn Hett pays tribute to his “amazing” son
Thursday 1st June 2017 @ 13:06 by Tom Greggan

Pictured: Paul Hett (father), Martyn Hett and Kathryn Hett (stepmum)

The father of one of the victims of the Manchester Attack has paid tribute to his “kind, gentle, fun-loving” son.

Martyn Hett was one of 22 people killed at the Manchester Arena on May 22nd. His father Paul is well known in Tameside through his trophy and engraving business on Market Street, Hyde.

Floral tributes to the 29-year-old have been left outside the shop in the wake of the attack and Paul has thanked the local community for their “overwhelming” help.

“The response has been fantastic and really helpful. It’s the most difficult time of your life,” he said. “No parent should ever have to bury their own child. But the help that people have given us, and are still giving us now, has been absolutely overwhelming and it shows the true Manchester spirit.

“I have the business in Hyde but I’ve been staying away from there. I did go down on Sunday. The guys who work for me had told me there were floral tributes outside but I never expected anything like there was. There were literally dozens of bouquets, customers, friends and a lot of people who didn’t even know us. It was fantastic.

Floral tributes to Martyn Hett were left outside his father’s shop in Hyde.

“My wife and I were there at the vigil in Heaton Moor Park. The same thing applies; we knew there would be quite a few people there but when we actually got to the park and saw, I don’t know the exact figure but there must have been over a thousand people there. It was an unbelievable response.”

Paul spoke of the ‘shattering’ moment he found out his son was missing and the agonising wait for news. He said: “We didn’t find out he was missing until the early hours of the morning. We didn’t know he was at the concert; he lived such a full life that we didn’t know everything he was going on with.

“We spoke to my ex-wife, Figen, who told us that he was missing. It was just shattering. We didn’t know what to do.”

Paul continued: “We rang the police who said anyone with missing relatives were to go down to the Etihad. We went down there and it’s just a blur. We were very well treated; we can’t say enough about the staff and the emergency services at the Etihad. The whole day was just waiting and hoping.

“The worst case scenario was what happened; the best case we were hoping for was the he was unconscious in a hospital and they didn’t know who he was. That went on all day; the longest day of my life. As the day went on, the chances were getting less and less that he was in a hospital, and sadly that’s how it turned out.”

Thousands of tributes have been paid on social media to Martyn, who was a well-loved and popular figure in the prime of his life. Just days before the attack, Martyn had been made a Director of the Rumpus PR, the company where he was a digital manager. He was also due to set off on the trip of a lifetime to America on May 24th.

Popular stateside talk-show host Wendy Williams paid a moving tribute to Martyn on her show. He was due to be in the audience on May 29th and 30th but his seat was left empty in remembrance.

A Coronation Street superfan; Martyn had a tattoo of famous character Deidre Barlow on his shin. The soap opera have will be dedicating a bench on set to Martyn and the other victims, while tiles from the Rovers Return pub, which have been engraved with the worker bee symbol, will be auctioned off with proceeds going to the emergency fund for the victim’s families.

A vigil for Martyn was held in Heaton Moor Park where this shrine was left.

Martyn also appeared on TV programmes such as Come Dine With Me and Tattoo Fixers and Paul described his son as outgoing and fun-loving. But even he was surprised by how popular Martyn was, and how many people he knew.

“What I didn’t realise was how many people he knew from all over the world,” he said. “We’ve had responses from places like Russia, from America of course and even from the Lebanon! That surprised me.

“All these madcap things that he got up to, particularly on social media, we knew about. People were always saying to us, ‘Have you seen Martin’s done this?’ and ‘Have you seen that?’”

When asked how he would like Martyn to be remembered, the answer was simple. “I would like Martyn to be remembered as he was,” Paul said, “An absolutely great, fun-loving guy.

“He was totally outgoing, everything had to be about him. He was totally outgoing, everything had to be about him. He always had to be the centre of attraction. That was how he was, he was a terrific lad.

“I’ll remember Martyn as an amazing son, who was kind, gentle and full of life. He was absolutely amazing, he really was.”