Manchester Arena bombing victim was ‘angel’ who helped terminally ill children

A mother-of-two murdered by a suicide bomber in the Manchester Arena attack had used her expertise to treat terminally ill children, a public inquiry heard.

Beauty therapist Lisa Lees, 43, from Oldham, was described as an “angel” who set up an organisation giving aromatherapy and massage treatment to ease the pain of dying youngsters, the hearing in Manchester was told.

Salman Abedi, surrounded by the throng of elated youngsters leaving an Ariana Grande concert, exploded his shrapnel-packed rucksack bomb, sending thousands of nuts and bolts shredding everything in their path.

Lisa Lees
Lisa Lees

Mrs Lees and friend, Alison Howe, died in the foyer of the Arena while waiting to collect their daughters after the event on May 22, 2017.

Details of Mrs Lees’ life were given during the continuing commemorative phase of the public inquiry, where family members of each of the 22 murdered in the attack give tributes including statements, videos and photographs of their loved ones.

Growing up Lisa was described as a very independent child, who represented England in swimming in the Church girls brigade and had a strong work ethic.

She was signed as a model but became pregnant at 17 but despite her age was a good mother determined to also have a career and went to study at college, eventually gaining a degree in business management at Huddersfield University.

Lisa Lees
Lisa Lees

Though determined and ambitious she was also caring, having set up the organisation to treat terminally ill children with aromatherapy massages.

She married husband, Anthony, in 1999 and they had a daughter, India.

Lisa later worked in a beauty salon, started her own business and became a beauty therapy teacher at Oldham College.

Her daughter India’s statement described how they would go on shopping trips together, describing her mother as hard working, caring, beautiful and glamorous.

On rainy days they would enjoy, “snuggle days” spending hours in pyjamas, eating chocolate and watching films together.

Anthony Lees, in a statement read out by a legal representative said he “cherished the 23 years we had together”.

He added: “Lisa was truly an angel, caring and beautiful both inside and out.

“Lisa had so much more to give in life.”

A video message was played by Mrs Lees’ mother, Elaine Hunter, brother Lee and eldest daughter Lauren.

Lisa Lees, right, with her daughter Lauren Ashleigh Lees
Lisa Lees, right, with her daughter Lauren Ashleigh Lees

Mrs Hunter said: “She was an amazing daughter, mother, wife, sister and friend.

“Someone very special was taken from us all that day.”

Lauren said coping is a “daily emotional battle” adding: “My mum lit up all of our lives. To lose her in this way is unthinkable.”

A song composed and played by Lee, inspired by his sister, ended the tribute.

He said: “I just miss her so much. She was my best friend.”

Earlier the public inquiry, looking at all aspects of the terror attack and expected to continue into next year, heard tributes for Polish couple Marcin and Angelika Klis.

The hearing was adjourned until later on Wednesday.