Today, Manchester stands united in the face of a barbaric terror attack which killed 22 people and injured 59.
At 10:35pm on Monday 22 May, a lone terrorist detonated a suicide bomb as crowds of Ariana Grande fans, many of whom are just children, exited Manchester Arena after curtains were called on this leg of her Dangerous Woman tour.
While the emergency services valiantly went into overdrive, locals showed their resilience in the face of evil, offering shelter and transport to those stranded in the city centre last via the hashtag #roomsformanchester.
Now, as the names of victims are being released by the authorities, including eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos and 18-year-old Georgina Callandar, the mourning city has united against terror with these acts of kindness.
Paula Robinson rescued 50 children who were separated from their parents in the aftermath of the attack. The 48-year-old posted her mobile number on social media so worried parents could contact their children, as they waited in the safety of a nearby Premier Inn.
Many central Manchester hotels also opened their doors to all and any stranded victims.
— Daniel Doyle ? (@Danel_Doyle) May 23, 2017
Bravery of strangers
Chris Parker, a 33-year-old homeless man who has been living rough in Manchester for a year was begging in the Manchester Arena foyer when the blast hit. Acting on instinct, the brave man went to the aid of the injured – and later described the horrific moment an elderly woman died in his arms.
Speaking to the MEN, he added: “I saw a little girl. I wrapped her in one of the merchandise T-shirts and I said ‘where is your mum and daddy?’ She said ‘my dad is at work, my mum is up there’.” Parker believes the girl’s mother died from her injuries.
There are queues of people lining up to donate blood to the injured parties, despite the NHS announcing earlier today that they have ample supplies to treat patients.
The NHS tweeted:
We do have all the blood required for hospital patients at the present time…If you have an appointment to give blood in the next few days, please do your best to keep it, particularly if you are blood group O negative.
— Political Heckler (@PoliticsHeckler) May 23, 2017
Mancunians have been sharing brews with the emergency services who have worked through the night to keep the survivors safe. As police are stationed at cordons around the city, Rabbi Cohen of Chabad Manchester City centre has been delivering cups of tea as the epitome of Mancunian unity.
Rabbi bringing tea for police at the cordon. "We are Manchester. We are together" pic.twitter.com/Rca7TsJXqb
— Emily Dugan (@emilydugan) May 23, 2017
Amazing to see Rabbi Cohen of Chabad Manchester City centre giving tea to our awesome police today ? pic.twitter.com/1DPrEP6qqk
— Darth Mord (@MordMaman) May 23, 2017
Other locals establishments, including the Manchester University SU, are offering free brews all day for the brave servicemen and women as well as anyone affected by the terror attack.
— The Mancunion (@THEMANCUNION) May 23, 2017
Safe journey home
Local taxi drivers, like AJ Singh and Sam Arshad’s StreetCars Manchester drivers have spent the night following the blast driving the stranded to safety, and the injured to Manchester hospitals, manoeuvring through the carnage and police cordons after public transport was cancelled.
Singh told Channel 4 News:
We should come out and show whoever’s done this that it doesn’t matter because Manchester, we’re glue, and we stick together when it counts.
Taxi drivers, hotel workers and the emergency services have worked through the night to help those caught up in the Manchester attack pic.twitter.com/9FhngeMReO
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) May 23, 2017
Messages of solidarity
Buildings in Manchester’s iconic Northern Quarter have been emblazoned with messages of solidarity, as people remain defiant in the face of evil from their rooftops.
One sign read: “WE ARE MANCHESTER WE STAND TOGETHER”
— Simon Donohue (@SimonDonohue) May 23, 2017
Glorious sunny day in Manchester. pic.twitter.com/8RdXWc5WJz
— Hannah Al-Othman ? (@HannahAlOthman) May 23, 2017
The hashtag #prayformanchester is trending on Twitter. While many Mancuians don’t need prayers, but rather need answers as to how and why this evil attack happened, the support of many is overwhelming.
The Dean of Manchester Cathedral – where a bomb squad conducted a precautionary controlled explosion in the aftermath of the attack – held prayers for those of faith who are affected.
— Manchester Cathedral (@ManCathedral) May 23, 2017
Tributes flood social media
Public figures with ties to Manchester, such as David Beckham and Liam Gallagher, as well as the comedian James Corden have shared touching tributes to the Mancunian spirit.
A statement from the newly-elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham says Manchester is ‘grieving, but we are strong’ and he added it will be business as usual as far as possible.
— Mayor Andy Burnham (@MayorofGM) May 23, 2017
A vigil was scheduled in Manchester’s Albert Square at 6pm this evening in which we will remember those 22 people who lost their lives, including Georgina, and pay our respects to anyone affected.
These random acts of kindness offer hope and lightness in a dark time for the city of Manchester, as innocent civilians’ lives and civil liberties are threatened.
Manchester – the proud city of the worker bee – will not be defeated by this cowardly act of terrorism. Meanwhile Greater Manchester Police have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack, the worst Britain has seen for a decade.
Police are encouraging anyone with footage from the scene to upload it at ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk or ukpoliceimageappeal.com. Other information can be reported to the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321.
Our thoughts are with everyone affected.