‘You’re not disabled’: Woman snubbed by Manchester Arena in ticket row wants to ‘live without judgement’

An Adele fan with long-term illness and mobility problems was told she ‘didn’t have a disability’ when booking tickets for the singer’s world tour at the Manchester Arena.

Ellie O’Halloran from St Helens was left upset and disappointed when she was told she could not receive a free ticket for her carer at next week’s Tuesday performance.

Music fan Ellie, 43, suffers from lupus, costochondritis, Sjögrens and fibromyalgia, which cause chronic pain and fatigue, among other symptoms.

As such, she cannot walk far and tires very easily.

Her fibromyalgia makes even slight touch painful for her, making a gig a difficult place to be without extra support from a carer to protect her from crowd knocks and help her walk.

But when she attempted to book tickets for her hero’s tour, she was rudely accused of not being disabled, and forced to pay full price for her carer’s ticket – haven’t previously been told she would get one for free.

“It’s not like I have a broken leg that will hopefully mend with no further problems,” she told MM.

“It is a life-long condition that I have to live with and would like to be able to enjoy that life without judgment.

“It would be advisable for staff not to judge someone’s level of disability.

“Most venues I go to do ask for proof of disability in the form of DLA/PA letter or something similar.  

“It’s just the letter stating you are entitled, not the list of individual issues you have. You do not have to get personal.”

Worldwide phenomenon Adele arrives in Manchester next week to perform at Manchester Arena.

The opportunity to see the star on her sell-out world tour was too good to miss for Ellie.

The fan called Manchester Arena box office two days before tickets went on sale to check it would be okay for two disabled people to attend together with carers.

Having attended concerts at Manchester Arena previously and had an overall good experience, she hadn’t thought there would be a problem.

She was assured on the phone that both herself and her friend, who is in a wheelchair, could have personal assistant tickets, allowing their partners to accompany them at the concert.

But when she called to book on the day ticket release day it was a different story.

“He asked if we were wheelchair users, to which I said there was one and one person with mobility problems,” she said.

“He then asked me what my disability was, and when I told him he said that wasn’t a disability.

“You can only imagine how upsetting that was! I have been seen by many consultants and doctors, and the Department of Work and Pensions have classed me as disabled due to my conditions, but according to the man in the box office I’m fine.”

Upset and rushed, Ellie was given the option to take one PA ticket and pay for three at full price, or go without one carer.

What was most hurtful was not necessarily the fact that she could only afford two tickets full-price tickets, and so is unsure as yet as to what help she will receive on Tuesday night, but rather the way in which she was treated.

MM contacted Manchester Arena for a response to the incident.

Rachel Witkin, Partner Relationship Executive at Manchester told MM: “We offer our sincere apologies to Ellie.

“We are working as hard as possible to make the venue as accessible as possible.”

The venue has been working closely with Attitude is Everything, a charity that aims to promote and improve disabled access at UK music venues and festivals, to ensure both the building and the ticket booking process is accessible to all.

Following some reported abuses of the facility, the venue have been reviewing PA tickets.

But the incident clearly shows there is still work to do.

Manchester Arena stated: “As a result of this we will be improving our Personal Assistant ticket booking facility in the future, with continued guidance from Attitude is Everything.”

The venue has now issued Ellie with tickets and a formal apology.

Image courtesy of Google Maps, with thanks

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