Monday 24 July 2017

Manchester residents pull together to offer beds, blood and food in wake of attack

Despite reeling from the aftermath of one of the worst terror attacks ever to occur on UK soil, the people of Manchester have proved why they are amazing.

By Peter Cary

Manchester residents have pulled together in the wake of Monday night’s terrorist attack, offering beds, blood donations and food to those affected by the incident.

The city was left reeling after a suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester Arena left 22 dead and 59 injured, including several children.

Despite the ensuing panic, several organisations opened their doors to those in need, including a Sikh temple near the concert venue where the attack took place.

Members of the Gurdwara Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib temple offered food, hot drinks and lifts to those who had been caught up in the incident and said they were on hand to comfort people who “didn’t know where to turn”.

Parkash Singh, president of another Manchester temple, the Sri Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara, said the community did “as much as we could to help the situation”, including asking fellow Sikh taxi drivers to give people lifts to hospitals and hotels.

“We’re just quite sad that it’s happened on our doorstep,” he said.

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Elsewhere, a rabbi was seen handing out tea to police officers on duty in the city and there were reports of Muslim men giving out bottles of water and food for free in the city centres.

The gestures were followed by numerous fundraising appeals for victims and family members caught up in the blast, including one from local news organisation Manchester Evening News, whose JustGiving page reached more than £400,000 in just seven hours.

The British Red Cross together with the Lord Mayor of Manchester’s charity, We Love MCR, also responded with their own JustGiving appeal, which raised more than £170,000 within a few hours of being set up.

Another campaign for a homeless man who stopped to help injured victims in Manchester Arena exceeded its £1,000 goal, reaching just under £4,000 three hours after it was set up by well-wisher Michael Johns.

Chris Parker, 33, had been begging in the stadium foyer when the bomb went off, and tearfully described to journalists the moment an injured woman died in his arms.

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The immediate response to the blast saw dozens of locals use social media to offer accommodation to stranded visitors using the hashtag #roomforManchester, which began trending on Twitter.

Actor Eamon John Gannon was among those offering help.

Scores of people offering blood donations were also photographed outside the Manchester Norfolk House Blood Donor Centre on Tuesday, before NHS services said they had “all the blood required” for hospital patients at the present time.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham was among those who praised the response of volunteers, tweeting that their efforts demonstrated “the true spirit of our city in the face of such devastating tragedy”.

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