Inquests & Public Inquiries

‘Bonny lad’ Philip had a huge heart and was someone who ‘once met, you’d never forget’

Philip Tron
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Terry Wilcox

Manager, Public Inquiries & Senior Associate Solicitor

4 min read time

The family of Philip Tron – one of 22 people killed at the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017 – have paid tribute to him at the ongoing Public Inquiry, saying he had a huge personality, a huge heart and a good sense of humour.

The Inquiry is currently hearing tributes from relatives as they provide insights into the personalities and lives of those killed, also reflecting upon how the loss of loved ones has forever changed the lives of the families left behind.

Philip’s mum, June Tron, and his uncle, Ken Mullen, were at Manchester Magistrates Court with Mr Mullen reading his pen portrait in a pre-recorded video.

Mr Mullen also spoke briefly prior to the video being played to say how the family have full confidence that the inquiry will deliver on its promise to ‘put the families first and central to the inquiry’ and ‘leave no stone unturned’.

Chairman of the inquiry, Sir John Saunders, thanked Mr Mullen for ‘introducing a welcome touch of humour to a very affectionate tribute’ to Philip, saying it had given all involved a very clear understanding of the type of person he was, and why he was loved so much.

The commemorative statement included pictures and videos of Philip that had been produced by his nephew, Luke, who Mr Mullen said was like a younger brother to Philip.

A ‘huge personality’ and a ‘Geordie ambassador in heaven’

Mr Mullen described Philip, 32, of Gateshead, as someone with a huge personality. He said he had a ‘huge heart’ and a ‘good sense of humour’, and said that in him, heaven now had a new ‘Geordie ambassador’.

He told how Philip loved dark chocolate and Jaffa Cakes, and ‘had a habit of pinching some of the gravy before dinner’, adding that he was a ‘joker’ and Newcastle United fan who enjoyed socialising with his friends.

He joked that Philip ‘disliked having to pay for a round of drinks and if he had to, he would make sure it was the cheapest,’ adding that he didn’t like admitting he was wrong, even when he knew he was.

Mr Mullen told the inquiry that the pub where Philip used to work has since re-named its toilets as “bonnie lads” and “bonnie lasses” in tribute to the way he used to greet people when they entered the bar.

Philip had a daughter and was one of five siblings. Mr Mullen said were called the ‘famous five’ growing up, and that Philip doted on his niece and told how there was ‘not a job he wouldn’t try to do’.

He said that his nephew’s ‘overriding ambition was to have a happy family life with lots of children around him,”

“Philip had a huge heart, and a huge personality to match. Once you met Phil you could never forget him. He was thoughtful and hugely likeable. To me, he was just my bonny lad Phil,” he said.

The inquiry heard how Philip’s death had affected his mother June, who posts on Facebook every Monday night at 10:31pm, giving Philip an update on her life.

His sister Vicky said: “He had a huge bright smile that reminds me of my own, this makes me sad as I am caught in a moment of loss when I am having a moment of happiness. He was a very protective and proud brother.”

His brother Andrew said that he misses his cheeky laugh, his sense of humour and ‘the exaggerated stories that he would tell’.

The inquiry has been adjourned until next week when the rest of the pen portraits will be heard.

Mr Mullen thanked the legal team at Hudgell Solicitors for ‘the help, advice, support and sympathy they have given so far, and continue to do so’

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