The mother of Martyn Hett, who was killed in the 2017 Manchester Arena attack, has been recognised in this year’s New Year Honours list for her work in counter-terrorism.
Figen Ayşe Murray has been appointed OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for her campaign to introduce Martyn’s Law, which would force venues to improve their security measures to deter future terror attacks. Mrs Murray said she is “humbled” by the honour.
The Turkish mother of five’s life was transformed from counsellor to peace activist and counter-terrorism campaigner after one her sons, Martyn, was among the 22 people killed in the bombing of Ariana Grande’s Manchester concert on 22 May 2017.
The horrific event, and the fact entertainment venues continued to have lax security measures after the bombing, prompted Mrs Murray to push for new legislation to “keep the public more secure when out and about”.
Whilst Martyn’s Law “will not stop terrorist attacks” Mrs Murray wrote on her personal website, “it will reduce opportunities or deter terrorists to target certain areas where people congregate.”
Born in Istanbul in 1961, Figen spent her childhood and teenage years in Germany where her family had moved when she was aged two. She opted to move to Britain when she turned 22 and has remained in Britain ever-since, residing in Stockport, Manchester.
Since Martyn’s death, Ms Murray has toured the country taking part in conferences and giving talks in schools on the dangers of radicalisation and promoting kindness. She recently also graduated with a Master’s degree in counter-terrorism.
The mother-of-five, from Stockport, said her world had “completely changed” when her 29-year-old son died, adding: “I have channelled all of my energy into action to prevent violent terrorist acts from happening again.”
Last year the government launched a public consultation on Martyn’s Law. It is expected to publish its findings sometime in 2022.
Ms Murray said: “I think [Martyn] would be quite touched that I do a lot of this work in memory of him – not just in memory of him but in memory of the 21 others who died in the attack as well.”
New Year Honours 2022
This year, a total of 1,278 people received an award in the New Year Honours. According to the Cabinet Office, 15% of all recipients were from an ethnic minority background, the fourth consecutive year for such ethnically diverse honours.
A little under a half of all those recognised on this year’s list, 612 in total, women, which accounts for 47.9% of the New Year Honours List. Women fared less well for the senior honours, at CBE level or higher, representing just 35.9% of recipients.
The Honours List “continues to give recognition to those showing courage and leadership in their local areas”, with two thirds awarded for community work.
The Cabinet Office broke down the honours awarded as follows:
1,122 candidates have been selected at BEM, MBE and OBE level:
- 361 at BEM
- 508 at MBE
- 253 at OBE
799 (63%) of the recipients are people who have undertaken outstanding work in their communities either in a voluntary or paid capacity.
- 15.1% of the successful candidates come from an ethnic minority background:
- 8.4% of recipients are from an Asian ethnic group
- 3.6% of recipients are from a black ethnic group
- 2.5% of recipients with a mixed ethnic background
- 0.6% of recipients come from another ethnic background
13.3% of the successful candidates are disabled or have a long-term health condition, while 25.5% of recipients considered themselves to come from a lower socio-economic background, and 3.5% of recipients are LGBT.