Sunday 17 December 2017

Thousands gather for benefit concert as Manchester Arena reopens for first time since terror attack

A general view of the Manchester Arena prior to the We Are Manchester benefit show
A general view of the Manchester Arena prior to the We Are Manchester benefit show

Pat Hurst

Thousands of fans are gathering amid heightened security at the re-opening of Manchester Arena tonight for the first time since the terror attack.

Fans attending the star-studded benefit concert face additional screening and bans on backpacks, large bags and some electrical items before entering the venue.

The area around the venue is swamped with police and stewards as queues form at entrances and bags are checked.

Families who lost loved ones and those injured in the suicide bombing three months ago are expected to be among the 14,000 crowd at the sold-out gig, with funds raised going towards a permanent memorial for the victims.

Charlotte Campbell and Paul Hodgson, the mother and stepfather of Manchester bombing victim Olivia Campbell-Hardy, arrive at the Manchester Arena
Charlotte Campbell and Paul Hodgson, the mother and stepfather of Manchester bombing victim Olivia Campbell-Hardy, arrive at the Manchester Arena

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his device in the foyer of the venue at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 and injuring scores of others on May 22.

Read More: 'Tears never far away' - says mum of Manchester bomb victim Martyn Hett

The devastated area has been partly renovated and re-opened for tonight's event, titled We Are Manchester, to show the city will not be defeated by terrorism.

A team of trained trauma specialists and mental health professionals will be on hand at the event for anyone who needs help.

Armed police officers stand at one of the entrances to the Manchester Arena
Armed police officers stand at one of the entrances to the Manchester Arena

The entertainment will begin with a pre-show DJ set from Clint Boon, followed by a performance from poet Tony Walsh, known as Longfella, with a recital of This is the Place, a homage to the city of Manchester.

The event, headlined by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, will include performances by The Courteeners, Blossoms and Rick Astley.

All profits raised will go to the Manchester Memorial Fund, a charitable trust overseen by the city's Lord Mayor to pay for the permanent memorial.

Press Association

Promoted Links

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

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News