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'I thought I wouldn't live to see my 15th birthday - now I'm hoping to be crowned Miss England'

A Manchester Arena attack survivor is hoping to be crowned Miss England – saying she feels honoured to be able to compete for the accolade.

Modelle Hughes-Gervis, from Salford, was just 14 when she was caught up in the May 2017 tragedy which left 22 dead.

The then-teenager had been given Ariana Grande concert tickets as a Christmas present and couldn’t wait to watch her favourite singer with her best friend.

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The pair were still in the arena when the bomb detonated but managed to escape without injury – however the tragedy has had a lasting impact on her mental health.

Modelle, now 20, said: “I left unharmed and have had people tell me, ’But you weren’t next to the bomb,’ but that’s not what it’s about.

“The genuine fear that goes through your body when you hear a literal bomb go off creates the worst case scenarios in your head, like another potentially going off that could be the one to harm you.

“Being 14 and having to deal with the trauma of knowing and seeing people had lost their lives at a concert I was also at was a lot to process.

“It did ruin my confidence as a young teen. I was scared to go into big crowds, I was scared whenever I heard a loud bang and I still do get triggered when I hear them.”

Modelle, who works as a model, says she 'tried to carry on as normal' in the days, weeks and months that followed the tragedy but 'normal didn’t feel reachable for a very long time'.

Working in the Trafford Centre, Modelle still gets triggered by loud noises or the sound of people screaming.

But Modelle was determined not to let the tragedy hold her back in life – going on to model professionally and even take part in beauty pageants.