DEFIANT teenagers who survived the suicide bombing at a Manchester pop concert returned to the scene of the blast in a bid to “gain closure”.

The brave Newton Aycliffe girls last week revisited Manchester Arena where they were caught up in the terror attack following the Ariana Grande performance in May.

Best friends Millie Robson and Laura Anderson have since spoken out about the trip they made to the venue ahead of its weekend opening – describing it as one of the “toughest” days of their lives.

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Writing on Instagram following Thursday's visit, Millie said: “Revisiting Manchester Arena and seeing the place where my life changed forever is something I couldn’t even think about doing a few months ago.

“Nevertheless, today surrounded by my family and best friend we allowed ourselves to gain closure from the difficult visit and truly showed me and Laura how lucky we were that night.

“Life is so precious and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Ever. My heart is still and forever will be in Manchester.

“For now however, I’m moving on from this heartbreaking chapter of my life as a much better person and I’m so excited to see what the future holds.”

The 15-year-old Woodham Academy pupils were both injured in the explosion on May 22 when they were hit with shrapnel, metal, glass and bolts.

While Millie was left needing operations for holes in her legs from the wounds, Laura had to have shrapnel surgically removed from her leg, body and shoulder.

When Salman Abedi detonated his rucksack bomb in the Arena's foyer, he killed 22 people and left 250 injured.

Laura added: “Going back to Manchester arena is something I once thought I’d never do ever again - after the heartbreaking way it ended the last time I was there.

“I thought the memories of what should have been nothing but a perfect night would be too overwhelming.

“I know it was what I needed to do in order to gain closure and help me and Millie understand where we were that night and to help end the total confusion I still had over it all.

“It’s made me realise even more how unbelievably lucky Millie and I were compared to the 22 who sadly weren’t and I’m so so grateful.”

Millie also told followers on Twitter she had paid a visit to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to see the nurses who looked after her in the aftermath.

She added the return to Manchester Arena had revealed how “lucky and blessed” she was to survive.

“If I was even slightly in a different direction I most likely wouldn’t have survived,” she posted. “I’m determined to live my life to the fullest - not just for those we lost, but for myself.”

Last month the pair were praised for their dedication and strength of character after achieving good grades in GCSEs sat days after the attack.

Their hard work paid off as they received their English language GCSE results on August 24.

Commending the girls’ courage at the time, Woodham Academy headteacher Christine Forsyth said their dedication to their exam and desire to get back to school showed a “triumph of will” and “strength of character”.

Meanwhile their parents spoke of the pride they felt for their daughters following the results day.