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Nation commemorates victims of Manchester Arena bombing on first anniversary of atrocity

By Dave Higgens

The 22 victims of the Manchester Arena atrocity were remembered yesterday at an emotional national commemoration service.

One year on from the May 22 attack, around 800 people attended an emotional service at Manchester Cathedral.

Families and friends of the victims and survivors 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 and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

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.

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.

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.

"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."

Prince 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.

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 met some of the bereaved families following the service.

Later, more than 3,000 singers from local choirs joined forces at the Manchester Together With One Voice event in the city's Albert Square.

Among those performing were 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.

Belfast Telegraph

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