Figen was born in Istanbul and moved to Germany at the age of two. Twenty years later, she moved to the UK for a new adventure. Now, a mother of five children and grandmother to five boys, she resides in a peaceful part of south Manchester with husband of 29 years and counting, Stuart.
For over 23 years, Figen worked as a counsellor, a life coach and offered clinical supervision to other counsellors too. She has always had a passion for listening to other people's troubles - helping them get back on track to lead happier, healthier lives is a role she finds both challenging and rewarding.
On the 22nd May 2017, Figen’s life as she knew it changed forever. Her son, Martyn Hett, was one of the 22 people killed in the devastating Manchester Arena terrorist attack. The shock, heartache and emptiness felt by Figen’s family were overwhelming. In the aftermath, friends, family and even strangers flocked to support her and her grieving family, and while there was nothing anyone could do to bring Martyn back, the acts of kindness strengthened their faith in humanity.
While many would assume Figen’s anger at what happened to Martyn, she was defiant in her message that hate fuels hate, and that being angry would only cause more heartache and pain. Figen made it her mission to promote peace and positive change in Martyn's name.
After Martyn’s death, Figen made the assumption that venues would have much stricter security measures. When she visited a local theatre to attend a music concert, she realised to her horror that no security seemed to be in place, and she felt devastated. She spend the whole performance racking her brains about what she could do, and shortly afterwards she decided to launch a government petition called Martyn’s Law.
Martyn’s Law is a proposed piece of legislation to keep the public more secure when out and about. Whilst it will not stop terrorist attacks it will reduce opportunities or deter terrorists to target certain areas where people congregate. Its aim is not to restrict people’s free movement but merely seeks to ensure that venues do all they can to make sure that their customers are safe from these dangers.
Figen has spoken to over 20,000 children about radicalisation achieved a Master’s degree in Counter-Terrorism in 2021 and was appointed OBE in the 2022 New Year’s Honours List.