A Co Tyrone man who was injured in the Manchester bombing is recovering in hospital after surgery to have shrapnel removed from his stomach.
Tommy McCollum – who is originally from Cookstown but has been living away from home for around 20 years – was picking up his stepdaughter at the Manchester Arena when a suicide bomber detonated a bomb close to where he was standing.
Mid Ulster UUP Councillor Trevor Wilson is a friend of the family.
He said although he had not seen Tommy – understood to be in his late 30s – for a long time, he was a good friend of Mr McCollum’s father Thomas Senior with whom he would talk regularly.
Mr Wilson said he was speaking to him on Wednesday when he learnt his son had been caught up in the bomb attack.
Mr Wilson: “You can imagine the shock, the hurt and the anxiety that they would be experiencing at this moment in time.
“They’re going through a mixture of emotions – there’s relief their son is alive but also anxiety that he has been badly injured.
“He had shrapnel wounds and underwent major surgery but thankfully things are improving for him.
“He’s still in hospital in Manchester.
“Everyone is praying for him, that he makes a full recovery.”
The councillor added: “His parents have been in touch with him and their other son is with him.
“Although he was injured he was one of the lucky ones.
“His step-daughter was there – he was picking her up – she escaped injury which is another blessing.”
Monday night’s attack which followed an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena killed 22 people and injured more than 100 people.
Off-duty police officer Elaine McIver and seven children under the age of 18 were among the 22 people killed in the Manchester Arena terrorist atrocity.
The youngest person known to have died is eight-year-old Saffie Roussos, who was at the concert with her mother.