Manchester Arena attack: thousands to mark anniversary

Series of events across city including a mass singalong are being held one year on from terrorist attack

Ten thousand people are expected to join a mass singalong in Manchester on Tuesday night to mark the first anniversary of the Arena attack.

Bells across the city will ring at 10.31pm to mark the exact time Salman Abedi detonated a suicide bomb after an Ariana Grande concert, killing himself and 22 others.

Before the singalong, choirs from all over Greater Manchester, including one formed by survivors of the attack, will join together to sing in Albert Square.

With One Voice starts from 7pm with video messages, with the choral performance starting at 7.30pm, culminating in a mass singalong finale between 8.30pm and 9.30pm.

The songs for the finale have been confirmed as 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. Those wishing to join are advised to get to Albert Square for 6pm and can download the lyrics booklet here.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, said the city was still in recovery.

He said: “Manchester has changed; we’re stronger and more together and there is a palpable sense of community spirit. But underneath the scars are very real and deep. We’re a city in recovery.”

He also tweeted the front page of Tuesday’s Manchester Evening News, which pays tribute by naming the 22 victims, and said Tuesday’s events would be a chance to “come together”.

Grande also published a tweet to mark the anniversary. Describing the anniversary as a challenging day, she said she was sending “light and warmth”.

A giant sign outside Manchester Victoria station to mark the first anniversary of the Manchester Arena attack.
A giant sign outside Manchester Victoria station to mark the first anniversary of the Manchester Arena attack. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

As dusk falls, song lyrics suggested by members of the public will be projected on to the pavements and buildings in St Ann’s Square, which was overwhelmed by flowers and tributes after the bomb. Earlier this year, the council asked people to nominate songs that helped them to reflect, inspired them or made them fell proud.

At 2pm, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, and the prime minister, Theresa May, will pay their respects at the national service of remembrance.

The invitation-only service at Manchester Cathedral will be attended by the families of those who lost their lives, the injured, first responders, civic leaders and national politicians.

It will be broadcast live on a big screen in nearby Cathedral Gardens as well as at York Minster, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and Glasgow Cathedral.

From 8am, members of the public can leave messages of hope and solidarity on 28 trees across the city centre. The Trees of Hope trail runs from Victoria Station, which is attached to Manchester Arena, and runs through to St Ann’s Square. Some of the trees have been nurtured with compost made from the floral tributes left by the public last year.

Among the choirs taking part in the evening singalong are the Manchester Survivors Choir, a group made up people who were at the Arena on the night of the attack, mostly parents and children who met through a social media network set up for those affected.

A number of one-off choirs have also been specially created for the event including A City United choir, combining Manchester City FC’s Community Choir and Manchester United Foundation Youth Choir; a choir bringing together several Greater Manchester workplace choirs and an emergency services choir combining the North West ambulance service, Greater Manchester police male voice , Greater Manchester fire and rescue service and Cheshire fire and rescue service choirs.

There will also be a performance from Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus and AMC gospel choir, with many other choirs contributing to the massed One Voice choir, which will lead communal singing.

Cath Hill, a co-founder of Manchester Survivors Choir, said: “We want to show the world that after months of talking and trying to come to terms with what happened, we are here now, and are determined to get on and do something positive with our lives.”

The singalong will be broadcast live on BBC Radio Manchester and Key 103, shown live on the big screen at MediaCityUK and played over the PA systems at Manchester airport.


Helen Pidd North of England editor

The GuardianTramp

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