The ‘vibrant and full of energy’ life of Martyn Hett was remembered with smiles today at the public inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing atrocity.
The inquiry began its fourth day in Manchester with the start of a two-week period of ‘commemorative hearings’.
Pen portraits from the families and friends of the deceased, and moving personal evidence about them, will be heard and displayed to the inquiry.
PR manager Martyn, 29, was from Stockport.
His family compiled a video which was shown to the inquiry – and his dad, Paul Hett, and brother, Dan, read out moving statements.
There were smiles and laughter in the courtroom as the video compilation was played.
The footage included video made by Martyn, with his dad Paul saying that over the years, he made many ‘hilarious’ clips.
Martyn was shown dressing up and acting with friends.
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“We hope everyone who sees it will enjoy our tribute to our amazing son,” Mr Hett said.
Clips of Martyn as a young boy were included – and his famous leg tattoo of Coronation Street character Deirdre Barlow was shown.
Mr Hett said Martyn’s life was ‘vibrant and full of energy’.
He said he was constantly dressing up and making up plays – and had a passion and a love of acting.
Mr Hett said Martyn told his family he was gay as a teenager – and the family simply told him they loved him unconditionally ‘because he was Martyn’.
After studying, he started to work as PR social media manager.
“He had the most wicked sense of humour,” Mr Hett said.
“The one constant in all his social media videos was that everyone was having fun.
“Martyn lit up around him.”
He told how Martyn would throw Eurovision Song Contest parties – and loved Coronation Street.
“He was rapidly becoming a social media celebrity,” he said.
Martyn and his partner appeared on Come Dine With Me – and won £1,000.
“There is no doubt in my mind he was destined for a great future,” Mr Hett said.
He became friends with some members of the Coronation Street cast and a memorial bench on the soap’s newly-opened set includes a tribute to Martyn, the inquiry heard.
Mr Hett spoke of fantastic family holidays – and said ‘Coronation Street super-fan’ Martyn was always first up on stage during entertainment evenings.
Martyn had been saving up for an eight-week ‘holiday of a lifetime’ to America. He was due to leave for the US two days after the attack.
The family had a party for him beforehand – and he printed out an itinerary, Mr Hett said.
“He was ready to go on a holiday of a lifetime…this was cruel beyond belief,” he said.
Mr Hett said the family scattered Martyn’s ashes all around the world.
“Martyn crammed more into his 29 years than most of us do in a lifetime,” he went on.
“His memory will shine brightly forever.”
Mr Hett said the family have been approached many times, due to Martyn’s huge social media presence, and asked ‘is Martyn your son?’
He said they always replied ‘yes’ – with huge pride.
“Losing him changed all of us,” said Martyn’s brother, Dan Hett.
“I still go to text him even now.”
“The nature and the scale of what happened were uniquely difficult to deal with.”
Mr Hett said Martyn’s Deirdre Barlow tattoo was one of the reasons the family were able to identify his body so soon after the atrocity.
Salman Abedi detonated a rucksack bomb in the City Room area of Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017 after an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 and leaving hundreds more injured.
Hashem Abedi, his brother, is currently serving a 55-year minimum sentence after being convicted over the atrocity.
The public inquiry – set to run until next spring – is examining all aspects of the atrocity.