Tributes paid on Manchester bombing anniversary

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PA

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Manchester’s St Ann’s Square became a focal point for tributes in the wake of the 2017 bombing

Tributes are being made to the victims of the Manchester bombing on the second anniversary of the attack.

Twenty-two people were killed and hundreds injured in the 2017 suicide bombing at Manchester Arena.

Many people marked the anniversary on Twitter with #OneLoveManchester #WeStandTogether and #ManchesterRemembers all trending.

A low-key memorial service will take place at St Ann’s Church later, the city council said.

The “personal and private event” for families and emergency services will take place from 14:00 BST.

The church is in St Ann’s Square, which became a focal point for tributes.

Last year a larger service was held at Manchester Cathedral, attended by Prince William and Prime Minister Theresa May, with well-wishers gathered outside to watch on large screens.

A musical event was also held and speeches made in the city’s Albert Square.

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Various

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Twenty-two people were killed in the suicide attack at Manchester Arena

South Korean pop band Blackpink, who performed at Manchester Arena on Tuesday, dedicated their song “Stay” to the victims and their families, saying: “Our hearts ache for those who lost their loved ones.”

A Manchester City Council spokesman said this year’s anniversary would be marked with a “more intimate” commemoration.

Manchester Cathedral will also be open throughout the day for people to “spend some time in quiet reflection and prayer”.

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, detonated a home-made device at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at the arena as children and adults began leaving the venue.

The exact moment of the blast, 22:31, will once again see bells peal across the city centre.

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Hearts have been left at St Ann’s Square for people to take with them on the anniversary

Figen Murray, whose son Martyn Hett, 29, died in the atrocity, is among the relatives expected to go to the memorial service,

She is lobbying the government to make tougher security checks mandatory at large events.

She has also been visiting schools to speak to pupils about her experiences.

“I talk to them about kindness, tolerance and forgiveness and the dangers of radicalisation,” she said.

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Figen Murray’s son Martyn Hett died in the 2017 bombing

The parents of victims Chloe Rutherford, 17, and Liam Curry, 19, from South Shields, in Tyneside, said they would be marking the occasion privately.

They have raised £300,000 to help aspiring performers and sportsmen and women.

Caroline Curry, whose son had taken coaching qualifications, said: “I brought Liam into the world and because he’s not here now, and won’t have grandchildren to follow on his name, then it’s up to me to make sure he hasn’t left this world without making a mark.”

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Joyce Tewen said sharing hearts was a “beautiful” tribute to the 22 victims

Joyce Tewen, from Ardwick, said she was moved to see members of the public picking up handmade decorations earlier in St Ann’s Square to “help people smile”.

The 45-year-old, who has three children aged seven to 20, said it was a “beautiful” way to mark the anniversary.

“I’ve taken a photo of all the hearts so I can show my children as it’s important that they understand what happened,” she said.

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Alexander McBurney said he wanted to pay tribute as it is the “right thing to do”

Alexander McBurney travelled into the city centre from Heywood to pay tribute to those affected by the terror attack.

The 48-year-old also made the trip to St Ann’s Square last year to remember those who lost their lives.

“It’s just the right thing to do,” he said.

“I can’t think of a community or city that has come together as much as Manchester. It’s outstanding.”

About 14,000 people were at the Arena on the night of the bombing.

More than 3,500 people have now accessed psychological support in the wake of the attack, with 400 coming forward in the past 12 months.

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Shutterstock

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Armed police stand guard near ambulances on the night of the bombing

Tara O’Neil, from Flixton, who was at the Ariana Grande concert that night, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

She said: “You feel guilty. That you ran and you didn’t stop, but you would have got trampled.”

She said she used singing as her therapy, which had helped, but she still had had to leave her job because of her severe anxiety.



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