'Stand strong together, with a smile on our face, greater Manchester forever': Watch Tony Walsh's defiant tribute at vigil
A stunning poem read at a vigil for the victims of the Manchester bombing is urging people to "stand strong together."
Tony Walsh (51) read his poem This Is The place at a vigil in Albert Square on Tuesday evening.
As thousands gathered to remember the 22 people killed and dozens injured by suicide bomber Salman Abedi at the Manchester Arena on Monday night, Walsh paid tribute to the region and its citizens.
An extract from the poem reads: "And they’ve covered the cobbles, but they’ll never defeat, all the dreamers and schemers who still teem through these streets.
"Because this is a place that has been through some hard times: oppressions, recessions, depressions, and dark times.
"But we keep fighting back with greater Manchester spirit. Northern grit, northern wit, and greater Manchester’s lyrics.
"And these hard times again, in these streets of our city, but we won’t take defeat and we don’t want your pity.
"Because this is a place where we stand strong together, with a smile on our face, greater Manchester forever."
Mr Walsh told the Press Association how much the experience was for him.
He said: "As a proud Mancunian, I was worried that I'd find that emotional, particularly when I mentioned my mum, who passed away a while ago.
"It meant a lot to me. I wanted to do it for Manchester. I didn't want to crack, because Manchester won't crack.
"I felt quite calm actually, when it came to do it.
"It was a privilege."
He also said that the piece has an important message about not giving in to hate.
Mr Walsh said: "There was flashes of humour in there because that's Manchester all the time, and it's Manchester even in its darkest hours.
"And it's important to me that the poem is true to Manchester and its people, and we fight through these things with humour, as hard as it is sometimes. That's the Mancunian way."