Manchester bomb survivor to speak at Wetherby Race Day

Martin Hibbert and his daughter Eve, then aged 14, were just six metres away from suicide bomber Salman Abedi when he detonated his devastating bomb at the end of an Ariana Grande concert six years ago.

He was paralysed after receiving 22 shrapnel wounds – one of which severed his spinal cord. Eve, who turned 21 this week, miraculously survived a catastrophic brain injury and, despite amazing progress, still requires round-the-clock care.

Martin will be the special guest and keynote speaker at the annual Northern Raceday at Wetherby Racecourse on October 18 which is raising vital funds for Spinal Research – the UK’s leading charity spearheading the drive to translate next generation science into life-changing treatments and therapies for people with spinal cord injuries.

“I’m very excited about where things are going at the moment, with science offering real hope for people with spinal cord injuries,” said the 47-year-old who has become an influential disability campaigner and fundraiser since the bomb attack that killed 22 people and injured hundreds.

“Obviously the holy grail is to discover a cure for paralysis but it’s a journey and restoring things like bowel and bladder function, or some hand and arm function would make such a huge difference to the quality of life of millions of people.

“That’s why it’s so important to support the amazing and important work that Spinal Research do.”

The special Spinal Research fundraiser marks the opening day of the 2023/24 jump season and takes place at Wetherby Racecourse on Wednesday, October 18. 

Martin will talk about his personal journey since the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017 and his passionate campaigning for better access, help and support to enable people with spinal cord injuries lead a fulfilled life.

Every four hours someone in the UK is paralysed following a spinal cord injury. But, cutting edge research is now being translated into first generation human trials of therapeutics that will deliver life-changing improvements to people living with paralysis today.

North Yorkshire-based Spinal Research Chair Tara Stewart, who was paralysed from the chest down after a horse-riding accident in 2014, said: “We’re standing on the edge of genuinely exciting breakthroughs, giving new understandings about the spinal cord’s ability to heal. 

“Promising therapies have come through in the last few years and there is real belief amongst researchers and scientists that this devastating condition can be tackled and ultimately cured.

“This means that the 60,000 people living with a spinal cord injury in the UK have the hope that a cure will be found in their lifetime.

The Northern Raceday for Spinal Research includes a charity auction and last year raised nearly £50,000. For more information on how to book tickets, hospitality packages and race sponsorship opportunities go to or call 01937 582035.

Tara added: “We have the science but what we need is the funding to accelerate its development into meaningful, life-changing devices, drugs and treatments which is why we’re very grateful to Martin and Wetherby Racecourse for supporting us.”