Thousands gather for moving vigil in Worden Park

Thousands gathered for a vigil to honour those who lost their lives in Monday's terrorist attack at Worden Park in Leyland this evening.

Thursday, 25th May 2017, 11:25 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:40 pm
The people of Leyland held a vigil in Worden Park for the victims of Manchester's suicide bombing last Monday

The town’s community was particularly remembering Saffie Rose Roussos, 8, and Georgina Callander, 18, both of whom had links to the area.

Young and old stood alongside each other as a horn was sounded for a minute’s silence.

As the minute drew to a close people in the crowd release balloons into the air.

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A poignant message on one of the floral tributes

The crowd was silent for another minute as they watched the balloons drift away into the sky.

Georgina’s family had sent a message to everyone which was read out at the vigil.

It thanked the community for their support and read: “Our lovely daughter will be looking down with her usual big smile.”

During the minute’s silence, emergency services including firefighters, policemen and woman and paramedics lined up in front of the crowd.

Mutual support from a group of friends

Addressing the gathering vicar of St Andrew’s Church in Leyland Rev David Gibb said that life was about making choices.

He said: “You have chosen to stand here to express your solidarity, to stand with the victims of the attack in Manchester.

“There’s a choice to hate or a choice to love, to choose not to retaliate but to love the person next to you.”

Phil then read a message from the Muslims of Leyland condemning the attack by the suicide bomber.

A poignant message on one of the floral tributes

It read: “No words, no amount of wreaths, no midnight candle vigils will ever fill the void, the chasm, that a catastrophe like this brings. Our hearts go out not only to the families of Saffie and Georgina, snatched before their time, but to the other innocents and their families whose lives were equally stolen that night - our deepest sympathies are conveyed to all.”

The family of Michelle Kiss also attended a vigil in Whalley last night.

It was where the mum-of-three lived with her husband Tony and children Dylan, Elliot and Millie. Her family lit candles, while local children laid flowers for her.

There were also balloons of the number 22, to represent the number of people who have died after Monday’s attack.

Mutual support from a group of friends

Conservative MEP, Sajjad Karim, who attended the vigil, said: “I never thought we would face such awful events and my thoughts are with the family.”

Michelle’s husband Tony, children Dillon, Elliott, Milly and parents.”

e mindlessness of psychopaths and lunatics should never be reason to drive us apart. It’s the very existence of mutual respect, multiculturalism, a desire and ability to co-exist that makes Britain, great and it is precisely at times like this that we unite.”

Pastor Sandra Crawford of Leyland Baptist Church led the crowd in prayer to pray for the families of the victims. She also prayed that “faith is reclaimed as that which brings out the best in us”.

As the vigil drew to a close organisers played One Last Time, a song by Ariana Grande, at whose concert in Manchester the bomb exploded.

There was also a chance for people to sign a book of condolances which would be given to the families of Saffie and Georgina.

Taxi drivers at Avacab had offered a free service to all residents of South Ribble to attend the vigil at Worden Park.