After-school club manager’s death in Arena atrocity left children ‘bewildered’

The death of an after-school club manager in the Manchester Arena attack left the children she cared for “bewildered”.

Mother-of-two Wendy Fawell, 50, from Otley, West Yorkshire, was a “nice and caring person” who loved her job and “tried to mother everyone”, the public inquiry into the May 2017 bombings was told.

She was waiting to collect her daughter in the foyer of the Arena at the time of the explosion at the end of the Ariane Grande concert.

In a pen portrait of her life, her family said the huge Elvis Presley fan was “the life and soul of the party who had so much to live for”.

Brought up in Rawdon, Leeds, Mrs Fawell first worked with children at a pre-school nursery in Yeadon, went on to be a dinner lady and later a manager at Eye Spy out-of-school club in Guiseley, where she looked after older children.

Her family said: “She loved her job, she loved children and, as she was fun to be around, children warmed to her and enjoyed spending time with her.

“Her death left all the children she cared for bewildered.

“Wendy has always been a fun person, the life and soul of the party. She loved socialising and she loved her role of being a mum to Adam and Charlotte. She tried to mother everyone. She was just a nice and caring person that way.

“She loved being outside and walking the dog. She was a true sun worshipper. If the sun was out then mum was out. She enjoyed reading and spending time with her family and friends. She had so much to live for and she gave so much of herself. She was the one that could be relied on.

“How can anyone put into words the devastation of losing a loving daughter, mother and friend in such tragic, insane circumstances? The loss is indescribable. We have never felt such grief.

“All this has left us all totally heartbroken and our lives will never be the same. Every day little things bring home the fact that she is no longer with us. This we will have to live with for the rest of our lives.”

Mrs Fawell’s father Michael, who died 11 months after his daughter, never got over her death, the hearing in Manchester was told.

Her mother, Julia, said: “It was double heartache for me when I lost Michael. I like to think he is with her now doing what he always did – looking after her.”