Ryan releases moving musical memory to mark third anniversary of Arena attack

A BUDDING teenage musician from Greenfield has released a song to mark the third anniversary of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 22 people.

Ryan Ashley, 18, and dad Stephen attended the Ariana Grande concert on May 22, 2017 and were close to the foyer when a bomb exploded.The pair escaped uninjured but memories of the night significantly affected the former Oldham College student.A few months later he wrote the words and music to ‘I Promise I Am’ but only recently decided to share his moving tribute to a wider audience.

“I have always wanted to put it out but had been too scared,” he explained.

“It is something I have always listened to though to remind me what I went through.

“This time I felt I didn’t care; I just wanted to get the weight off my shoulders and show you can go through something so hard but come out the other side.

“I want people to hear it and share it round the world. It is a clear message to people who have gone through something traumatic knowing it is okay you can let all your feelings out.

“Since I have done it, I have had tremendous support off everyone.”

Ryan, second cousin of Barrie Ashley whose funeral last month attracted hundreds of mourners throughout Saddleworth, was in a stairwell near the Arena foyer when the explosion happened.

“It was really close,” he said. “One of the main lines in the song is about being paralysed. That was basically it.

“I just froze and could not talk. Everyone started running and there were little kids crying. But I physically couldn’t move.

“Eventually, we got rushed through the emergency exits by police with guns. It was just awful.”

Having plucked up the courage to release his song, Ryan, who is a member of Boarshurst Brass Band, is keen to progress his musical career.

The former Greenfield Primary and Saddleworth School pupil said: “I have more material I want to release.

“Ariana is my main inspiration. Seeing how much she has progressed, that is what I want to do.”

Ryan is comforted by the knowledge Barrie, one of his biggest supporters, had heard his Arena tribute.

“He loved it and I know if he was here now he would be so proud. I know he is always watching.”

• You can listen to Ryan’s song here: https://youtu.be/vqPzwS7j0os

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