Super League star Oliver Gildart has spoken of his shock after his mum and 10-year-old sister were caught up in the Manchester terrorist attack.
Claire and Isabella Gildart were about to leave the Ariana Grande concert when the bomb exploded.
Wigan Warriors centre Oliver, 20, was alerted to the horror when his mum called him amid the chaotic aftermath.
He said: “My mum rang me up and told me, she thought (the blast) may have been a speaker, but there were a couple of claims being thrown about so she asked me to look on Twitter to see.
“So I had a look on Twitter and it all erupted.
“It was a bit of a scary time. They were in the part of the arena where the explosion went off - they were at the bottom of the stairs, so when it went off, everyone ran back towards them.
“They got lucky, really.
“Obviously you don’t think this kind of thing happens, especially with your own family.
“They left the building, went and sat in the hotel for a bit and then my mum’s friend’s husband picked them up.
“It’s awful what happened - I still can’t believe it, to be honest.”
They were in the part of the arena where the explosion went off - they were at the bottom of the stairs, so when it went off, everyone ran back towards themOliver Gildart
Isabella was attending her first concert.
“It’s heartbreaking, she’s only young,” said Gildart yesterday.
“It was her first gig, she’s got a few more booked but there’s no way she’ll go to them now,
“I rang her that night and she’s really upset. My mum is obviously really upset, but they’re probably the lucky ones and we just feel for those who didn’t get home.
“I couldn’t sleep last night - I had the news on, just watching it all.”
Gildart says all the Warriors squad had been rocked by the atrocity.
“It’s madness, especially a concert aimed for young kids,” he added. “It’s heartbreaking.”
He today went for a bee tattoo – a symbol of Manchester – with Dom Manfredi and Sam Tomkins.