Two sisters orphaned in the Manchester Arena attack are spending Christmas in their newly renovated home - thanks to a generous fundraising campaign.
Alex Klis, 20, and her sister Patrycia, 14, lost their parents Marcin and Angelika when a bomb was detonated after the Ariana Grande concert on May 22.
A fundraiser was held at a local pub helping to raise a combined total of £16,598 to help them in the future.
They have now used the money to buy a new home and move out of their parents’ rented accommodation.
It has been renovated in five weeks and the sisters hope to move in today (Sun) ahead of their first Christmas without their parents.
Alex said: “My parents would be really proud of everyone and everything they’ve done for us. They would be really happy for me and my sister.
“I will really miss the little things about them. If I go out shopping and buy a new outfit, I want to be able to ask my mum what she thinks about it.
“They were both really great, loving and caring. Everybody who knew them would say they always had a smile on their face.”
The family-of-four from York had travelled to Manchester together, with taxi driver Marcin, 42, and his 39-year-old wife enjoying a meal while their daughters and a friend went to watch the popstar.
Alex, who works for bookmaker William Hill, said they had originally planned to meet outside the arena, but her mum texted her, changing the meeting point to inside the venue and close to where the attack took place.
Alex said: "We bought tickets for the concert six months before and had been really looking forward to it.
“When we were in the arena the sound of the bomb going off was really muffled - it didn’t sound like a bomb.
“We were told by someone it was a malfunction with the lights, but as soon as we went through the doors there was a horrible smell and it was cloudy and foggy.
“Our parents didn’t answer their phone and we were taken to a hotel where everyone was given blankets and sitting on the floor.
“I knew straight away what had happened to my parents - I got a feeling about it, but we were hoping we’d find them.”
Alex, Patrycia and their friend Megan Hewitson were taken home to York that night, but Alex and her father’s friend returned to Manchester the next day to look for the couple.
They tried to get help from the Polish Consulate, but were told to go to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium where police were helping relatives trace their loved ones.
It was here that Alex found out her parents had died after she described them to a police officer.
She added: “A officer took lots and lots of details and went out, leaving us for about two hours in one of the executive boxes.
“She came back in with a psychologist and counsellor, and that’s when they told us.”
Alex’s thoughts then turned to telling her sister the devastating news.
She said: “When I got home she was asleep and I wanted to tell her in the morning, but it was all over the news, so I had to tell her before she found out on Facebook.
“As soon as I woke her up she knew something was wrong and she could tell what I was going to say.
“It feels like it happened 10 years ago because everything is such a blur in my head.
“The last six months have been completely manic with us running around and not having a minute to stop, but hopefully in the New Year we can settle down.”
An outpouring of generosity after the attack has seen hundreds of thousands of pounds donated to help the siblings and other victims of the terror attack.
Crowdfunding websites and the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund raised more than £5 million for the victims.
Their new home has been renovated by York building firm Norris Construction.
Alex says her main priority now is to look after her younger sister, but believes it will be made easier through their already strong relationship and having a roof over their heads.
She added: “Everyone has been really generous and I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated.
“On top of everything that I have had to sort out, we would have had to worry about money as well.
“Money is a big thing to worry about, but now a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”