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Hundreds gather at service for “inspirational” Martyn Hett
Friday 30th June 2017 @ 16:37 by Tom Greggan

A funny, poignant and bittersweet memorial service was held today for Martyn Hett, one of the 22 victims of last month’s terror attack at the Manchester Arena.

Martyn, 29, was a popular and much-loved figure and that shone through during the service as friends, family and a host of celebrities paid tribute to him.

Hundreds of mourners turned up at Stockport Town Hall to pay their respects. Those who were unable to get into the main hall watched the service outside on a big screen. As well as the traditional black, many wore ‘something fabulous’ as well, on Martyn’s request.

Mourners hug outside the Town Hall

The crowd burst into applause as Martyn’s cortege approached the town hall. His coffin, carried in a horse-drawn carriage, immediately drew wry smiles; decorated with pictures of his beloved pet cat, his favourite Coronation Street characters and the word ‘ICONIC’ written on the top. Coronation Street stars including Kym Marsh, Antony Cotton, Helen Worth and Jennie McApline were among those in attendance.

One of Martyn’s favourite pop artists, 2003 Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus, opened the service before Martyn’s father, Paul Hett, who owns a trophies and engraving shop in Hyde, paid tribute to his “inspirational” son. “I would describe Martyn’s life as one long rollercoaster ride,” he said.

Martyn’s father Paul looks at his son’s coffin

“You never knew where it would take you, or what was round the corner, but you couldn’t wait for it to happen. With Martyn, you felt exhilarated. He was inspirational and this in turn inspired everyone around him. We have received messages from all around the world, from people who followed Martyn, just waiting for his next hilarious post. His wicked sense of humour and his ability to turn the most ordinary thing into something extraordinary is legendary. His comic timing was perfect. He would have gone on to achieve the most amazing things, of that we have no doubt.”

Paul also thanked the all the staff who have worked with the family since the tragedy on May 22nd, the emergency services and the public for their messages of support.

A horse-drawn carriage carried Martyn’s coffin to and from the Town Hall

Music, which Martyn so loved, played a major part of the service, with performances from ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ by Peter Grant and ‘Till the End of Time’ by Rob King. A video was shown of youngster Lyra Smith, who sang a tribute song to the 22 that she composed herself.

Michelle McManus also performed her songs ‘Emotional’ and ‘All This Time’. She told the story of how she met Martyn, after he expressed his love for her on Twitter, and how he once helped her sell out a show in Sale.

Gareth Clements, Martyn’s boss at Rumpus PR, drew wild laugher from the crowd with tales of Martyn’s office antics and they also laughed along to a tribute video, featuring Martyn’s joyful social media videos and TV appearances, alongside home video footage from his childhood.

Martyn’s step-father, Stuart Murray, read out a poem by Ashton poet Paul Quirk that paid tribute to all 22 victims, telling the crowd, “Today is a day for celebrating the life of Martyn.”

A woman, overcome with emotion, watches the service on the big screen

BBC Radio One DJ Nick Grimshaw and comedian Jason Manford also sent in video tributes but the one that would have thrilled Martyn the most came last, as his hero Mariah Carey appeared on screen. “I love you and I’m so happy that we got a chance to meet,” she said. “I know that you are shining down on us from heaven. That I played a strong role in your life is huge honour to me.”

During the day, the hashtag #BeMoreMartyn trended on Twitter as people paid their own tributes to man who touched the lives of many.

Finally, it was time for the mourners to pay their final respects to Martyn. His coffin was carried from the town hall to Ariana Grande’s ‘One Last Time’ and his loved ones departed to a private cremation and wake.

The Funeral Director leads the hearse away from the Town Hall