‘I’m still picking glass out of my head after all these years’

Neil Tattersal pictured with his daughter Sophie
Neil Tattersal pictured with his daughter Sophie
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Neil Tattersall is still picking pieces of glass out of his head 25 years after the IRA bomb attack on Manchester which took place 25 years ago yesterday.

But despite the fact that he still suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which has in many ways devastated his life, he is aiming to redeem his experiences by reaching out to others suffering in the same manner.

“I still suffer from PTSD,” he said. “In fact I think it is getting worse. There is no treatment over here [in GB].”

He was previously offered four counselling sessions but the funding ran out half way through, leaving him “high and dry”.

Mr Tattersall was asked to do a Bible reading at yesterday’s church service.

For him, what was particularly chilling about the 1992 bombing was that, in a cynical twist, the IRA issued a hoax warning beforehand that a bomb had been planted in Arndale Shopping Centre in the city centre.

The timing and location meant that the crowds from the shopping centre were quickly evacuated into the vicinity of the two actual bombs in Cathedral Square.

Mr Tattersall was one of those caught in the blast.

“A spray of shrapnel came down on top of us. Even to this day I am still picking pieces of glass out of my head.

“I have got the bottom vertebrae in my back fused together.”

Some days the pain goes “through the roof”, he said.

After the bombing, the authorities advised him not to speak to anyone else who was involved, but he now believes this would have helped him to recover.

He never again saw the work colleagues he was standing with when the bombs went off.

“But I believe if I had been in touch with them I would now be much better than I am. I think my PTSD would be much better.”

However, after giving a recent interview to the press, some of his old work colleagues have reconnected with him on Facebook.

“They told me that after the bomb went off they could see me lying there with a big shard of glass in my back. They tried to get to me but they were pushed away.

“They said we will have to meet up and go out.”

Mr Tattersall’s partner at the time was pregnant with their daughter when the bomb went off. But the impact of the explosion saw his relationship break up and his father died soon after from a “broken heart” after seeing the overall effect on his son.

Due to PTSD, Mr Tattersall has been unable to hold down a steady job and has survived for much of his life on basic benefits.

He sits on the committee of the GB victims service which he says is doing “fantastic” work.

“It is a breath of fresh air. I know there will be more people out there like me. If I can help someone going through what I have gone through then I will be a very happy man.”