Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Manchester flooded with messages of support one year on from Arena atrocity

Well-wishers have paid tribute to the 22 victims of the suicide bombing after an Ariana Grande concert one year ago.

Heartfelt messages of support have been left throughout Manchester city centre as people gather one year on to remember all those affected by the suicide bombing that claimed 22 lives.

Well-wishers have begun to lay floral bouquets and cards in St Ann’s Square, which became a focal point for mourners last years following the May 22 atrocity at the Manchester Arena.

Thousands of messages of support on cardboard tags have been attached by members of the public to 28 Japanese maple trees which form the Trees of Hope trail from the square to Victoria rail and tram station.

Among the notes were messages which read: “Thinking of you all, stay strong xxx”, “Manchester we stand together. Forever in our hearts”, and: “As a clever bishop said ‘there is power in love’”.

Another message read: “RIP to all you beautiful angels who have all gained their wings in such a horrific vile way. Manchester will not cower away to you monsters. Spread love. Stacie xx”

A host of floral tributes were also laid at the memorial site at Manchester Victoria with bouquets from football clubs Oldham Athletic and Rochdale AFC.

bpanews_28d05a95-93d3-4753-88b0-3cb306668ba2_embedded236639845
Martin Hibbertt, who suffered life-changing injuries in the Manchester terror attack, reads messages left on a ‘Tree of Hope’ in St Ann’s Square, Manchester (Peter Byrne/PA)

Passengers have been invited to write their thoughts and memories on Stronger Together posters at the station.

More than 7,000 handmade stitched hearts are also dotted around the city centre with people encouraged to smile on the day and take them as they pass as part of social media campaign #aheart4mcr

Pop star Ariana Grande, 24, who had been performing at Manchester Arena when the terror attack took place, shared a touching message on social media as the families of victims and survivors prepared to mark the anniversary.

She wrote: “Thinking of you all today and every day. I love you with all of me and am sending you all of the light and warmth I have to offer on this challenging day.”

Some of the hundreds of those injured in the explosion, and the families of those killed, will be attending a remembrance service at Manchester Cathedral on Tuesday.

They will be joined by the Duke of Cambridge and Prime Minister Theresa May, as well as first responders to the scene, civic leaders and other national figures.

bpanews_28d05a95-93d3-4753-88b0-3cb306668ba2_embedded236639923
Bees painted on stones left in tribute to all the victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack (Peter Byrne/PA)

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said it was a day to “come together”, tweeting: “Today … we remember each of the 22 people whose lives were taken & we re-commit to supporting their families & all affected.”

The invitation-only service, held between 2pm and 3pm, will incorporate a national silence at 2.30pm, which will also be marked at UK Government buildings.

Members of the public will be able to watch proceedings on a big screen in nearby Cathedral Gardens, while the service will also be screened at York Minster, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and Glasgow Cathedral.

bpanews_28d05a95-93d3-4753-88b0-3cb306668ba2_embedded236639924
Twenty-two people were killed in the atrocity (Peter Byrne/PA)

William will meet some of the bereaved families privately following the multi-faith service, although some of the families have chosen to mark the anniversary in private.

Later on Tuesday, 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.

bpanews_28d05a95-93d3-4753-88b0-3cb306668ba2_embedded236640345
A woman and two young boys view tributes ahead of the Manchester Arena National Service of Commemoration at Manchester Cathedral (Peter Byre/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.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph