“HE brightened up every single day” — a mother has paid tribute to her son whose life was cut short by the Manchester Arena attack.

John Atkinson, aged 28, was described as “the centre” of his family.

His mother Daryl Price and step-father Kevan Price have shared some of the cherished memories of their son, including their hope that he would never be forgotten.

More than 600 people attended his funeral at St Thomas and St John’s Church in Radcliffe — a turnout which “speaks volumes.”

Balloon releases and a vigil were also held to celebrate his life.

Mr Atkinson was one of 22 people who were were killed in the atrocity in May 2017.

Plans for a permanent memorial to the Radcliffe man, to give future generations a place to pay tribute, have been more than a year in the making.

Mrs Price, aged 54, said: “John was like the centre of our family. It might sound a bit cliché but he truly was.

“I loved everything about him — everything he did and everything he said.

“He never had an argument. He never upset anyone. If you were John’s friend, you were John’s friend.

“When I think about him now it is sad because we are missing out on so much with him not being here.

“He brightened up every single day. Even if you were feeling down, he would pick you up.

“He was just an absolute pleasure to have as a son.”

Mr Price, aged 56, added: “He was such a caring lad. He looked after my mother when she was ill. At home and at work he looked out for people.”

Mr Atkinson attended St John’s Church of England Primary School in Radcliffe, then moved to Radcliffe High School.

His mother explained how her son’s acceptance into Windsmoor House, an independent day school for children with learning difficulties, was a “total turning point in his life.”

He went on to become a support worker in Bury for young adults with learning difficulties, Asperger’s and autism — a job which he loved.

Friends previously described Mr Atkinson as a “music lover” who was “one in a million and loved by so many.”

Last summer, his family had a permanent memorial designed and installed at their Radcliffe home — a marble bench inscribed with the words ‘Come sit down and remember me a while’.

Plans have also been revealed for a memorial in Radcliffe town centre — “a lasting tribute” at a central location to give those who knew him a place to remember him.

The structure would feature Manchester’s iconic worker bee — an emblem which became a symbol of unity and defiance in the wake of the attack on May 22.

The initial idea for a memorial was that of Bury Council leader and Radcliffe West Cllr Rishi Shori.

Over the past 12 months, the family has played a major part in developing the designs for the tribute to John Atkinson.

An application has been submitted to Bury Council to install a 1.5m-high granite memorial in Radcliffe piazza, a location specifically chosen by the family.

Specialist designer and stonemason, Edenfield-based Angels in Stone, were chosen to develop the family’s ideas for the permanent memorial, following consultations with council officers.

A council spokeswoman said: "We are supporting the family with establishing a lasting tribute to John in his home town of Radcliffe. This planning application is the next step in this process."

The bee will be carved out of a piece of yellow/buff coloured granite, shaped like a rock, and will sit on a contrasting black polished granite tapering podium.

This will then sit on a contrasting yellow/buff polished granite plinth, fixed to a foundation.

Mr Price said: “The inclusion of the Manchester bee is to reflect how Manchester pulled together in the days, weeks and months following the attack.”

Mrs Price said: “It is for people in years to come. It is for my grandsons to be able to say ‘that is the memorial they made for my uncle John’.

“For what happened in Manchester, I want them to be able to remember him.

“This is for everyone who knew John.

“It is so that no one forgets about John or about what happened.”

Mr Atkinson was a loving brother to three sisters and and uncle to seven nephews.

The family previously said: “John was the devoted son of Daryl and Kevan. He was the loving partner of Michael, they had been together for 15 years.

“He was a caring and thoughtful brother to Stacey, Laura and Amy. John was also a dear uncle, nephew, cousin and friend to many people.”

To view the plans for the memorial, search application number 63896 at https://planning.bury.gov.uk/online-applications/.