An ex-military policeman hailed a hero for helping victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack has died following a road collision.
Ex-serviceman Darron Coster, from Accrington, used his training from 22 years in the Royal Military Police (RMP) to assist casualties in the City Room foyer where the bomb was detonated at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017.
On Friday, Darron’s colleagues from Padiham-based Fagan and Whalley posted a tribute to their ‘dear friend’ on Facebook.
The road transport business said: “He was often the first face a new employee would see upon joining the Fagan and Whalley family, and Darron was a perfect projection of how we seek to go about our business where people are put first.
“Whilst Darron’s experience and knowledge will be solely missed from a business point of view, it is his friendship we will miss the most.
“He was always available for a chat or for advice, and was a reassuring happy presence all around the business especially in periods of perceived chaos.
“May you rest in peace Darron, and we pass on all our sincere condolences from us all at Fagan and Whalley to his family and friends, of which is clear there are many.”
On Monday, Sir John Saunders, the chairman of the public inquiry into the attack, said they had received the “very sad news” that Mr Coster died last week.
Mr Coster, who retired from the RMP in 2008, told the inquiry earlier this year he had served tours of Northern Ireland, so was familiar with the aftermath of bomb explosions and had basic first aid training.
He had gone to pick up his son and his son’s friends after the concert that night and made several laps of the room in assisting people.
He used a man’s belt and a woman’s handbag strap as tourniquets to stem the bleeding of a couple who had suffered leg injuries, and then helped a young man with serious facial and torso injuries.
Sir John said: “At the end of last week we had the very sad news that Darron Coster had died on Wednesday July 14 following a road traffic collision.
“As you will recall Darron gave evidence to the inquiry on April 15 of this year.
“Darron Coster worked for the Royal Military Police for 22 years, retiring in 2008.
“He then worked in planning and organising security for military events.
“On May 22 2017 he went to pick up his son and two others from the Ariana Grande concert.
“He had arranged to meet them at the bottom of the concourse steps.
“He was waiting there when the explosion took place.
“Having texted his son to make sure that he and his friends were safe he went and did what he could to help in the City Room.
“He encouraged other uninjured people who didn’t have his medical skill to sit with the injured, talk to them and give to them what assistance they could.
“He remained in the City Room doing what he could in that vital first half-hour to a hour and then went to find his son.
“I described him at the conclusion of his evidence as a hero for what he did on the night of May 22 2017 and I don’t think that anyone could or would disagree with that description.
“His former commanding officer has been in touch with the inquiry since his death.
“He described how very proud his former colleagues and his family are of him.
“He, this commanding officer, says that ‘lead by example’ is the motto of the Royal Military Police and the commanding officer remarks that is what Darron did on that dreadful night.
“I am sure that we would all agree with that.
“He leaves a wife Alison and a son Charlie and the thoughts of all us connected to the inquiry are with them as they try to cope with his loss.
“His actions on May 22 will live on in the memories of many.”