South Tyneside charity worker caught up in Manchester blast

A charity worker from South Tyneside and her young daughter were among those who were in Manchester Arena when the bomb went off.

Cheryl McDonald, who is well known for her work with Community Corner in Jarrow, was at the Ariana Grande concert with her nine-year-old daughter, Bryony, when the blast took place.

Cheryl McDonald and daughter Bryony Skye Murtaugh,9 return from Manchester bomb attack

Cheryl McDonald and daughter Bryony Skye Murtaugh,9 return from Manchester bomb attack

The mum said she had not heard the bomb go off, and the first she knew was when she saw a man crying and saying his daughters were inside.

Cheryl said: "I looked around and a few people were crying, so I realised something was wrong. I asked a woman what the problem was and she said there was a bomb.

"I have never been so frightened, I grabbed Bryony and we just ran. I didn't know where I was going or if I was heading in the right direction, I just knew we needed to get away.

"I was so terrified and it was scarey trying to keep Bryony calm and keep myself calm as well."

Cheryl McDonald and daughter Bryony Skye Murtaugh,9 return from Manchester bomb attack

Cheryl McDonald and daughter Bryony Skye Murtaugh,9 return from Manchester bomb attack

The mother and daughter ran to a nearby office building and hid there for more than an hour with another family, who took them back to their hotel, the Holiday Inn Express.

Cheryl and Bryony were supposed to be staying for the night, but were desperate to get back home, so Cheryl put a message asking for help on Facebook.

She said: "All I knew was that I needed to be out of there. A family, who were picking someone up, had two spaces in the car and came to collect me and Bryony and brought us home.

"I can't thank them enough, they came right out of their way to help us."

Cheryl McDonald and daughter Bryony Skye Murtaugh,9 return from Manchester bomb attack

Cheryl McDonald and daughter Bryony Skye Murtaugh,9 return from Manchester bomb attack

Back home in Brisbane Avenue, Cheryl, who also has a four-year-old daughter, Carly, said she and Bryony are still traumatised by what happened.

She said: "I still feel physically sick. It keeps coming over me in waves thinking about it.

"We are home and we are safe and I can't complain because we are among the lucky ones who made it out.

"I just feel so, so sad for those who didn't make it home and those who are injured."

Cheryl said Bryony is a natural born worrier and had been asking her mum not to go to London later in the year to see Adele because something bad might happen.

The single mum-of-two said: "She was saying the bad people might be there and I was telling her you have to go out and live your life and that nothing will happen. Then she goes through something like this, she is traumatised.

"No-one should have to go through this."

The blast killed 22 people and a further 59 are injured.

The South Shields hustings that was planned for this evening has been cancelled in light of the tragedy.

Instead, those involved will meet at the same venue, Salvation Army, Wawn Street, South Shields at 7.30pm, for a time of quiet reflection and prayer to remember those who have died and anyone is welcome to go along.