A FORMER Royal Navy chef has been hailed a hero for rushing to the aid of victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack.
Jon Morrey, now a police community support officer, was on patrol at Manchester Victoria Station when the blast ripped through the foyer of the arena on May 22 last year, leaving 22 victims dead.
Last night he was one of four British transport Police (BTP) officers, who were first at the scene, to be commended for their actions in a special ceremony at Manchester Town Hall.
Mr Morrey, 43, said he and his colleagues were trained not to run towards explosions but they ignored that advice and were treating the seriously wounded within 60 seconds of hearing the blast.
He said: ‘I knew what I needed to do and that was to help people.’
The former Royal Navy chef, who now lives in Shaw, Greater Manchester, said he knew immediately what had happened as the explosion sounded like a warship gun blast.
He said what he saw was ‘horrible and shocking’.
‘I remember there was glass everywhere and shrapnel and people crying out for help,’ Mr Morrey said.
‘I just went into automatic and just treated it like training exercise.
‘They were everywhere, all asking for help. And I’d be dealing with one and I’d say, “don’t worry, I’ll be there in a second”.
‘They were all very understanding.
‘I knew that there were people there who needed help and I did what I did.
‘I helped all the people I helped to the best I can. I’m glad that I could help them.’
Mr Morrey was the first at the scene with fellow BTP PCSOs Mark Renshaw and Lewis Brown, and Police Constable Jessica Bullough.
He denied he was a hero and said the commendation ceremony was ‘overwhelming’.
He added: ‘I’m just an ordinary bloke who puts a uniform on and goes to work and helps people.’
Reading out the citations for those honoured, Superintendent Kyle Gordon said: ‘In the most adverse of circumstances, we saw the very best of Manchester.’
BTP Chief Constable Paul Crowther told the packed hall it was ‘very humbling’ to hear the stories of those involved on the night.
He said: ‘There is no doubt that the extraordinary acts of bravery, professionalism and compassion demonstrated by all the individuals commended today were truly remarkable.
‘Many among you will have seen the most dreadful things. And those images and memories will be with you for a long time.’
He added: ‘I know that many of you being honoured here today don’t see yourself as heroes, such is your commitment. But you are, and those closest to you know it. Their pride in you is boundless, as is ours.’