Bomb survivor's story of love and courage
Manchester Arena bomb survivor Freya Lewis tells her story of love and courage in a new book just published.
Now 17, Freya, of Holmes Chapel, was with friend Nell Jones, of Goostrey, when the bomb was detonated following an Ariana Grande concert on 22nd May, 2017. Nell died in the attack.
Freya suffered multiple injuries, fractures and burns in the explosion, which killed 22 people and was in a coma for five days.
She spent three months in a wheelchair but 12 months later had recovered enough to take part in the Junior Great Manchester Run raising £60,000 for the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital where she was treated.
Her book is called What Makes us Stronger and has been released by the Orion Publishing Group who said that “from her darkest moment, she found the determination to live life to the fullest, for herself, and for those who lost their lives.
“This is Freya's courageous story. But it is also the story of the amazing community that surrounded her, uplifted her, and ultimately saved her life.”
In a BBC interview that coincided with the book's release this month Freya said she had no recollection of being admitted to hospital after the attack and that her parents, Nick and Alison Lewis, had helped her “focus on the positive side of things”.
She said: “In the early weeks of being in hospital I was overwhelmed with the feeling of intense guilt that I survived and Nell didn't. They got me through that.
“If it wasn't for them making me laugh again, making me have their awful dark humour, I wouldn't ever have been happy again.”
Freya recalled how she “just clicked” with Nell - they were both school pals at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive - because “we were so alike... we both loved drama, makeup, music”.
She said when police returned her belongings after the attack, they included the lipstick and a jacket she wore on the night.
“The lipstick was last used by Nell so that stands on the top of all my makeup and I've not used it since because I feel like it's too special,” she said.
“The jacket still has little tears and rips in it from 22 May but I love it because it reminds me of what I went through.”
Freya also recalled meeting Ariana Grande when the pop star visited survivors in hospital. “She cried with me, laughed with me and inspired me... she gave me her fighting spirit,” she said.
What Makes Us Stronger is out now, priced £14.99.