National silence to mark Manchester Arena attack anniversary

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A national one-minute silence will be held on the anniversary of the Manchester Arena atrocity to remember the 22 people who lost their lives.

The Duke of Cambridge and Prime Minister Theresa May will be among those attending a service of remembrance at Manchester Cathedral, along with families of the victims of the suicide bombing, the injured, the first responders to the scene, civic leaders and other national figures.

The May 22 invitation-only service, held between 2pm and 3pm, will incorporate the national silence at 2.30pm, which will be marked at UK government buildings.

Manchester Arena victims
The 22 victims of the Manchester Arena bombing (top row left to right) off-duty police officer Elaine McIver, 43, Saffie Roussos, 8, Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, Eilidh MacLeod, 14; (second row left to right) Nell Jones, 14, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, 15, Megan Hurley, 15, Georgina Callander, 18; (third row left to right), Chloe Rutherford, 17, Liam Curry, 19, Courtney Boyle, 19, and Philip Tron, 32; (fourth row left to right) John Atkinson, 26, Martyn Hett, 29, Kelly Brewster, 32, Angelika Klis, 39; (fifth row left to right) Marcin Klis, 42, Michelle Kiss, 45, Alison Howe, 45, and Lisa Lees, 43 (sixth row left to right) Wendy Fawell, 50 and Jane Tweddle, 51 (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

Later, more than 3,000 singers from local choirs will join forces and share the spirit of solidarity at the Manchester Together – With One Voice event in the city’s Albert Square from 7.30pm to 9pm.

Among those performing are the Manchester Survivors Choir, a group made up people who were at the Arena on the night of the fateful Ariane Grande concert, and Parrs Wood High School’s Harmony Group, whose post-attack tribute went viral last year.

A mass 30-minute communal singalong finale promises to be the highlight of the concert, with songs including 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.

Manchester Arena incident
A sea of flowers and tributes left in St Ann’s Square in Manchester following the Manchester Arena terror attack (Danny Lawson/PA)

Song lyrics will be projected at St Ann’s Church, St Ann’s Square and New Cathedral Street from dusk on May 22 and on following nights up to May 26.

Families of the 22 people who lost their lives were invited to suggest a single line from a song which had a personal resonance for them, along with members of the public.

Well-wishers have also been encouraged to share messages of tribute, solidarity and love, and hang them on the Trees of Hope trail throughout the city.

Volunteers will hand out specially designed cardboard tags from May 19 onwards to be placed on any of 28 Japanese maple trees along a route from Victoria Station to St Ann’s Square.

Each message will be preserved and kept – alongside tributes left last year – in an archive of the city’s response to the attack. The trees themselves will remain in the city centre.

Plans for a permanent memorial in the city are continuing.

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