Rays of hope in random acts of kindness

Rays of hope in random acts of kindness

As part of their enrichment programme, Year 10 at Co-op Academy Walkden have been learning about peace and conflict. Today, as part of this programme, they have had the fantastic opportunity to meet peace promoter and campaigner Figen Murray.

Figen Murray is the mother of Martyn Hett, who was one of the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing.

The Manchester Arena bombing happened at 10:30pm on Monday 22nd May 2017. The arena was targeted as people left an Ariana Grande concert. Twenty-two people died and more than 50 people were injured.

Figen now visits a small number of schools to talk about forgiveness and random acts of kindness and today we welcomed her to Co-op Academy Walkden.

In the assembly Figen spoke about Martyn, his love of Coronation Street, his zest for life and his beloved cat. She spoke about how he had booked a trip of a lifetime to America, which he was meant to be going on two days after the explosion that killed him. She explained how he had had two leaving parties before the trip as he had so many friends.

She then spoke about the evening that the arena bombing happened, the impact of it on her and her family and about the 2,000 messages she received from people offering their condolences.

Figen asked our students to think about how they could make a difference in the world. She spoke about how she forgave her son’s killer and about how we all needed to be nicer to each other and have more humanity in the world. She introduced the concept of a ‘random act of kindness’ and how by doing just one nice thing each a day, we could make the world a better place.

Students asked questions about Martyn, the arena bombing and the effects that it had had on her and her family.

Students then finished the assembly by writing down a random act of kindness that they were going to do. These ‘random acts of kindness’ slips will be collected up and will form a display at Co-op Academy Walkden, reminding our students daily to be themselves and show they care.

At the end of the assembly, two Year 10 students presented Figen with a bunch of flowers as a token of our appreciation. Her powerful story and determination to forgive and create a positive legacy for Martyn is inspirational.  The inspiration certainly made an impression on Ruby, a Year 10 who had been at the assembly. Speaking to her at dinner, she said, “It was so emotional and it really made me think how lucky we are.”

The Prime Minister, who was serving at the time, Teresa May, said after what happened the spirit of the city “will never be broken”. A sentiment that was echoed by Figen and a sentiment that was definitely that is truly embodied by this wonderfully strong mother.