Then and now from Manchester to the Costa del Sol

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IT WAS almost 21 years ago when the IRA detonated an enormous explosion in Manchester causing considerable damage but happily no loss of lives.

One couple who were caught up in this terrible event were Duquesa residents Lisa and Perry Hughes who were shopping at the time.

The couple had gone in slightly different directions when the explosion occurred and Perry was with his 11-year-old daughter Heidi whilst Lisa was pushing their seven-month-old son Sam in his pushchair when the window of the Habitat store imploded.

Whilst Perry was tending to his daughter who was covered in blood, Lisa instinctively grabbed Sam from the pushchair and thought that she was passing him to her husband, but instead she gave him to a security guard who shot off down the street with her son.

A terrified mother

In hindsight, it was an act of kindness by the ‘shell shocked’ guard who was scared that there might be another explosion and thought that he was rushing Sam to safety but for Lisa it was yet another nightmare and she ran screaming after the pair desperate to hold her son again.

The photograph of the stunned security guard holding Sam and the distraught Lisa made headlines around the world although the family was soon re-united though each suffered long-term effects from that traumatic day.

Physical scars heal

The cuts from the flying glass healed leaving some scars but the mental scars lasted a lot longer and having had a second child two years later, it was another seven years before the couple could go out and leave their children with a baby sitter.

Lisa had to give up a very successful career and the couple found solace in regular visits to the Costa del Sol which was quieter and much more laid back than living in the UK and eventually, two years ago, they moved full time to their property in Duquesa bringing son Sam now 21 with them.

The move to Spain

Sam is a very intelligent young man who has studied philosophy and Japanese at University but he is uncomfortable in crowded places and has easily settled into the life in Spain, taking a gap year so that he could set up his own internet business with the help of his parents.

Like a number of young people he is fascinated by on-line games as well as sports generally and he has come up with an idea that the family believe could become the new social platform for sports fans.

With a significant financial outlay and a company now registered in Gibraltar, he has created a free App, GameDay Xtra which is available on PC and in all App stores which is undergoing Beta testing at the moment.

The family has sold their property in the UK and invested all of their money in this new concept which has now been reviewed positively by both the BBC and Daily Telegraph with other media including radio and TV interviewing the family.

GameDay Xtra

Starting initially with Football, Basketball and Cricket, the App has breaking sporting editorial and video news stories coming in throughout the day but one of the key features especially for ex-pats is that you can also follow all major Premiership football, Champions League and European competitions as well as lower league games and local matches live in their Play By Play section.

The intention is to expand this option to include a whole range of different sports and to allow supporters of different clubs from major and minor leagues all over the world to interact with each other and the aim is for this to be recognised as the Facebook plus of sports fans.

Puerto Silicon

Although he has more than one string to his bow, his family and an international investor believe that GameDay Xtra has the potential to take the cyber world by storm and perhaps in the not too distant future, the name Sam Hughes will rank alongside the founders of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Google as Puerto Duquesa becomes Puerto Silicon.

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