22 May commemoration plans outlined
Proposals to commemorate one year since the 22 May 2017 terror attack have been revealed.
The attack at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena, which claimed the lives of 22 people, shocked the world and saw the city and wellwishers around the world come together in a display of solidarity and a refusal to bow to those intent on spreading hatred.
In this spirit, outline plans are based around two themes: Remembrance; Reflection and Celebration of Life – recognising each of the 22 people who lost their lives in the attack, those who were injured and first responders – and Manchester Together, embracing the solidarity shown by the city. In all cases plans are still being developed and more details will be announced nearer to the time.
Before the anniversary
A Trees of Hope Trail through the city centre will begin the weekend before the anniversary. People will be able to leave personal messages of hope, and support for those affected, on trees placed at key locations around the city centre including St Ann’s Square.
A one-minute silence will also be held during the Great Manchester Run which takes place on Sunday 20 May, with further commemorative elements during the Games including fundraising for the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.
On the 22 May
Civic Memorial Service
A non-denominational civic memorial service will be held at Manchester Cathedral during the afternoon, with bereaved families and first responders among those invited to attend to reflect on the events of that terrible day and remember loved ones. Invitations will be extended to senior national figures.
Albert Square, the scene of an emotional vigil last year the day after the attack, will play host to a free public event in the early evening giving people the chance to once again come together, stand in solidarity and show the world that they are united.
Manchester is committed to having a permanent memorial, or memorials, to commemorate 22 May 2017 but getting this right and ensuring a lasting and appropriate memorial requires a careful process. An advisory group of civic and business leaders was established last summer to advise on memorial matters. Initial consultation has taken place with bereaved families around both the outline proposals to mark one year on and considerations around a permanent memorial. Further updates on this process are not anticipated until later this year.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The horrific events of 22 May shocked not just this city but the world. Those who lost loved ones, and those who were left physically or mentally injured, will always have a place in our thoughts and we will never forget the 22 people, including children, whose lives were taken away.
“The aftermath of the attack also saw a remarkable display of solidarity and love in and for Manchester, a refusal to let those who would divide us to get their twisted way. Even as we grieved, we were proud to stand resiliently together.
“The first anniversary of the attack will be an intensely emotional time for a great many people. Everyone touched by those events has a unique personal experience and we have tried to be mindful of this in planning a range of events.”