A survivor of the Manchester bombing has taken in her best friend’s 15-year-old daughter after the mum-of-two died in the explosion.
Wendy Fawell, 50, and Caroline Davies, 39, were waiting to pick their children up from the Ariana Grande concert when the suicide bomber detonated his nail bomb – killing Wendy and critically injuring Caroline.
Describing Wendy as more like her sister than a friend, she immediately offered to take in her teenage daughter Charlotte.
“I’ll never replace Wendy but I will always be there for her. I’d do anything for her and I’ll love her like she is my own. I don’t want to let hate win.” she told The Mirror.
“I have said she can live here if she wants to. There is always room for her here.”
“Caroline has already been like a second mum to me so I know she will look after me,” Charlotte added.
“Identifying mum’s body hit me really hard. That’s when I realised she wasn’t coming home,” said the teen, who is now faced with the agonizing task of organising her mum’s funeral with her 29-year-old brother Adam.
“Even when I was told she’d gone I guess I still hoped there had been a mistake. But seeing her body changed that.
Just seconds before the attack, Wendy suggested the pair wait at different doors because they weren’t sure where their children would exit from.
“She’d just begun to walk away. She was just yards away when the explosion happened,” Caroline said.
“When I came round, there were dead people and bits of flesh all around me. I’m not sure how long I’d been unconscious but I could barely see for all the smoke.
“I was screaming, ‘Wendy, where are you?’ I couldn’t see her anywhere. That’s when I realised my arm was numb and I was crying.”
Of her mother’s death, Charlotte said: “It scared me, because she was my best friend and she has always been there for me. She was amazing and always put others before herself.
“But I know Caroline’s family will be a second family to me – they have done so much for my mum and me. They are everything to me.”
Caroline continues to struggle with survivor’s guilt after being the one to purchase the tickets.
“I have cried so much – and partly because I feel guilty for buying the tickets. The kids were hugging and kissing me when I got them but I wish I had never bought them.”
Wendy almost didn’t attend the concert after suffering a stomach ulcer the Saturday before and spending the night in hospital, but was determined to take the kids to see Ariana Grande.
“I’m not a confident driver, so Wendy said she’d drive to Manchester if I’d navigate,” Caroline explained.
“She told me she was getting the kids to the concert no matter what. I never imagined I’d come back without her.”
- BodyFour reasons why World Osteoporosis Day should be on your radar
Australian Women's WeeklyToday 4:25pm