Wednesday 26 September 2018

Britain to hold one-minute silence to mark anniversary of Manchester terror attack

In the wake of the attack, Ariana Grande put on a concert to benefit the families of those affected by the atrocity (Dave Hogan for One Love Manchester/PA)
In the wake of the attack, Ariana Grande put on a concert to benefit the families of those affected by the atrocity (Dave Hogan for One Love Manchester/PA)
The 22 victims of the atrocity
File photo dated 23/05/17 of emergency services at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig. Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Ken Pilling and Eleanor Barlow

Britain will hold a one-minute silence on the anniversary of the Manchester Arena atrocity to remember the 22 people who lost their lives.

Britain's Prince William and Theresa May will be among those attending a service of remembrance at Manchester Cathedral, along with families of the victims of the suicide bombing, the injured, the first responders to the scene, civic leaders and other national figures.

The May 22 invitation-only service, held between 2pm and 3pm, will incorporate the national silence at 2.30pm, which will 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.

The 22 victims of the atrocity
The 22 victims of the atrocity

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 to 9pm.

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

File photo dated 23/05/17 of emergency services at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig. Peter Byrne/PA Wire
File photo dated 23/05/17 of emergency services at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig. Peter Byrne/PA Wire

A mass 30-minute communal singalong finale promises to be the highlight of the concert, with songs including Ariana 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 buildings across the city centre to mark the moment when the attack took place 12 months ago.

Song lyrics will be projected at St Ann's Church, St Ann's Square and New Cathedral Street from dusk on May 22 and on following nights up to May 26.

Families of the 22 people who lost their lives were invited to suggest a single line from a song which had a personal resonance for them, along with members of the public.

Well-wishers have also been encouraged to share messages of tribute, solidarity and love, and hang them on the Trees of Hope trail throughout the city.

Volunteers will hand out specially designed cardboard tags from May 19 onwards to be placed on any of 28 Japanese maple trees along a route from Victoria Station to St Ann's Square.

Each message will be preserved and kept - alongside tributes left last year - in an archive of the city's response to the attack. The trees themselves will remain in the city centre.

Plans for a permanent memorial in the city are continuing.

Meanwhile, the brother of 14-year-old Nell Jones has spoken of "defiance" as the one year anniversary approaches.

Nell Jones, from Middlewich in Cheshire, was among the 22 people killed when terrorist Salman Abedi detonated a bomb after an Ariana Grande concert on May 22 last year.

In the 12 months that followed the attack, her family set up a foundation in her name with the aim of spreading love, rather than hate.

Her brother Sam, 30, said the decision to set up the Remembering Nell Foundation, which will support children's charities in the UK's North West, was made by the family before Christmas.

He said: "It just seemed we needed to do something for Nell, we couldn't just let her pass into memory."

This year the charity is supporting the Wingate Centre, for disabled children, Cheshire Autism and the Wood Street Mission, a Manchester-based children's charity.

"We can't change what happened and there is evil in the world, there is no doubt in that, but there is also great love in the world and great people," Mr Jones said.

"There are more good people in this world than there are bad people and we can't let the people who want to destroy our way of life destroy it.

"Defiance is quite a strong word but that is a definite element. We want to spread love around the world."

Mr Jones said the work of the foundation would be a fitting tribute to his younger sister.

He said: "Nell and love go hand-in-hand. She was such a caring person, she wouldn't want anybody to be picked on or be unkind, so we want to try and spread her beautiful message to everyone."

Each year the foundation will support different charities, chosen to reflect causes Nell would have cared about.

Mr Jones said: "It will be a real range of things. Anything Nell would have appreciated.

"There are all sorts of different people in the world and all sorts of different problems."

As well as the foundation, a Garden of Memories for Nell has been built at her school in Holmes Chapel.

Thanking the community for their support at the opening of the garden, Mr Jones said: "The last 12 months have been incredibly difficult but being able to come and see this tangible piece of affection has really helped to carry us through."

He added: "This garden proves that out of great tragedy can come a beautiful creation and I'm sure everybody here will agree this is a fitting tribute to a beautiful sister and a beautiful person."

Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News