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‘In our hearts forever’: Manchester Arena victims remembered at moving service

Some 800 people attended the hour-long service at Manchester Cathedral.

Members of the public gather in St Ann’s Square, Manchester, as they listen to the Manchester Arena National Service of Commemoration at Manchester Cathedral (Aaron Chown/PA)
Members of the public gather in St Ann’s Square, Manchester, as they listen to the Manchester Arena National Service of Commemoration at Manchester Cathedral (Aaron Chown/PA)

The 22 people who lost their lives in the Manchester Arena atrocity have been remembered at an emotional national commemoration service to mark its first anniversary.

Some 800 people attended the hour-long service at Manchester Cathedral including families or friends of the victims and also survivors of the May 22 terror attack.

They were joined by front-line responders and volunteers who helped in the tragic aftermath of the end of last year’s Ariana Grande concert.

Among the dignitaries who were present were the Duke of Cambridge, Prime Minister Theresa May, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable, Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester City Council.

A one-minute silence – observed nationwide – was held at 2.30pm with tears inside the cathedral and outside, where thousands watched on a big screen in nearby Cathedral Gardens.

Two women dressed in bee costumes in Cathedral Gardens (Peter Byrne/PA)

Photographs of those who died in the bombing were displayed on screens in the cathedral shortly before the silence.

Twenty-two lit candles on the altar represented each one of the victims, which were made using wax from the thousands of candles left in St Ann’s Square in their memory last May.

A larger single lit candle remembered bereaved families and friends, the hundreds who were physically or psychologically injured and their families and friends, those who helped on the night and those who have assisted or supported the community in their recovery.

Members of the public gather in St Ann’s Square, Manchester (Aaron Chown/PA)

Officiating the service, the Dean of Manchester, the Very Rev Rogers Govender, said: “In this service we come together as people of different faiths and none, as we remember with love before God those whose lives were lost, and those whose lives have been changed forever and have to live with the terrible memories of that day 12 months ago.

“There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge between them is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”

He added: “Everyone was loved so very dearly by people who are here today as well as by those who are not.

A member of the clergy lights candles for the victims (Paul Ellis/PA)

“They will live on through those who love them… Those lost and their loved ones will forever be in the hearts of the people of Manchester.”

In an address, the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker, said: “This cathedral is here, Manchester is here and you who were hurt or bereaved 12 months ago today are forever part of Manchester and forever part of us.”

William gave a bible reading, The Gift Of Love, and readings were also given by George Herbert, a student at Chetham’s School of Music, Remsha Asif, a student at Whalley Range High School for Girls, Michelle Milner, deputy director of nursing at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, along with members of the Hindi, Muslim, Sikh and Jewish communities.

The Duke of Cambridge attends the Manchester Arena National Service of Commemoration (Paul Ellis/PA)

Hymns sung by the Manchester Cathedral Choir were Amazing Grace, Be Still My Soul and I Watch The Sunrise.

Halle Youth Choir performed Over the Rainbow.

The final blessing was given by the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Dr John Sentamu, before the service was drawn to a close by the national anthem.

The order of service listed the 22 names of those who lost their lives with the heading “In our hearts forever”.

Members of the public also watched the proceedings on screen at York Minster, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and Glasgow Cathedral.

William and the Prime Minister were later due to privately meet some of the bereaved families following the service.

Later, more than 3,000 singers from local choirs will join forces and share the spirit of solidarity at the Manchester Together – With One Voice event in the city’s Albert Square from 7.30pm-9pm.

Among those performing are the Manchester Survivors Choir, a group made up of people who were at the arena on the night of the fateful concert, and Parrs Wood High School’s Harmony Group, whose post-attack tribute went viral last year.

A police officer wears stickers and a bee badge (Peter Byrne/PA)

A mass 30-minute communal singalong finale promises to be the highlight of the concert, with songs including Grande’s One Last Time, One Day Like This by Elbow, Don’t Look Back In Anger by Oasis and Never Forget by Take That.

At 10.31pm, bells will ring out from the city’s Town Hall, St Ann’s Church and St Mary’s RC Church to mark the moment when the attack took place 12 months ago.

Salman Abedi, 22, detonated his suicide bomb device at the end of the concert with 353 people, including 175 children, around him in the foyer of the venue.

A total of 22 people were killed and more than 800 others were either physically or psychologically injured.

Press Association

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