A MUCH-LOVED teaching assistant injured in the Manchester Arena attack is thanking the community for helping her pull together from the ‘horrific’ ordeal.

Sharon Crawford returned to work this month at Barnton Community Nursery and Primary School, where she has been a teaching assistant for nine years.

The Barnton resident was caught up in the bombing as she waited in the foyer for her 14-year-old daughter to return from the Ariana Grande concert on May 22.

She spent two weeks receiving treatment in Stepping Hill Hospital after a bolt from the bomb fractured her femur and left her with severe foot injuries.

Sharon told the Guardian: “It was horrific – I think that’s the only word I could use.

“Looking back, you don’t realise how bad it was until you think about it. It was absolutely terrifying.

“Life means more now – everybody takes it for granted.”

As part of her physical recovery, doctors put a metal pin in her damaged leg from her knee to her hip.

She remains on crutches, while her treatment continues at Leighton Hospital, but now she is looking ahead after returning to work.

“The hospital staff have been amazing – the whole NHS has,” said Sharon.

“I have good days and bad days but I'm just looking at the positives.

“I still have lots of hospital appointments, and quite a long road ahead to recovery, but the fact that I'm still here is great – there were people who weren't so lucky.”

The whole community at Barnton Primary was delighted to see Sharon return this month, after the school had produced a touching video for her in the aftermath of the attack, which killed 22 people and injured dozens more.

Youngsters were filmed singing Count on Me by Bruno Mars, while 54 year one pupils joined hands in a line to send a message of support to their teaching assistant.

She added: “I just want to thank the whole community for all the support – colleagues, friends and family. Barnton helped to pull me through.

“I have been here for nine years, I know all of the children and I think video they made really helped me when I was in hospital.

“The support I had from everybody was incredible. The staff here at Barnton brought meals round for me every single day when I was recovering at home.

“I'm really excited for Christmas now – I always enjoy the build-up with the children here but this year it means so much more.”