Morecambe and Lancaster people caught up in Manchester bomb attacks
People from Morecambe and Lancaster have told of their escape from a horrifying bomb blast in Manchester.
Twenty-two people, including children, were killed and 59 injured in the suicide attack at Manchester Arena on Monday night.
People fled the 21,000 capacity venue after an explosion at 10.35pm at the end of a concert by American singer Ariana Grande.
Many people from our area were at the concert, including Heysham teenager Rachel Simpson, who posted afterwards on Facebook to reassure loved ones that she was safe.
Ella Donnelly, 17, from Lancaster, was there with a friend. Both escaped unhurt.
Miss Donnelly said: “We heard a loud bang and then another bang. Everyone panicked.”
Cath Hill from Lancaster, who attended the concert with her 10-year-old son Jake, told BBC Radio Five Live: “We were incredibly lucky. We weren’t involved in the centre of it. I am so desperately sad for those that didn’t manage to come home from the concert.”
Greater Manchester Police confirmed the lone male attacker, who died in the blast, was a suicide bomber and detonated an improvised explosive device.
Police believe they know the identity of the attacker.
Victims relatives are using social media to hunt for missing loved ones, and an emergency number, 0161 856 9400, has been set up.
A number of children are still at the nearby Holiday Inn, which was set up as a safe meeting point after the blast.
Around 60 ambulances attended the incident and those injured are being treated at six hospitals in Manchester.
The Anglican Bishops from The Church of England’s Diocese of Blackburn have issued a joint statement this morning following the Manchester Arena attack.
The Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn; the Rt Rev. Geoff Pearson, Bishop of Lancaster and the Rt Rev. Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, said the following:
“We are shocked and appalled by the news of the attack at the Manchester Arena. To target an event attended by so many children and young people is barbaric beyond words or belief.
“Our thoughts at this time are with all the victims and most especially those who are unsure about the whereabouts or safety of their loved ones.
“Many of the Churches of Lancashire are about to enter a time of prayer for our nation under the title, ‘Thy Kingdom Come’.
“We therefore commit ourselves to deep and heartfelt prayer for all caught up in this terrible incident.
“We will not only pray that the Kingdom values of justice, love and peace might transform the hearts of all who would sow hatred and fear but will also commit ourselves afresh to action to building a world that reflects those values.
“People from parishes across Lancashire will be coming to Blackburn Cathedral tomorrow evening, May 24, at 7.30pm for our ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ beacon launch event.
“We will now make time during this service to offer prayers for the victims of the Manchester attack and anyone who wishes to join us as we offer these prayers is welcome to do so.”
Prime minister, Theresa May, has chaired a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee.
Theresa May said in a statement it was the worst attack ever to hit the north of England.
General election campaigning has been suspended today.
The Union Flag is flying at half-mast from Lancaster and Morecambe town halls as a mark of respect to all those affected by yesterday’s events in Manchester.
The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Lancaster, Coun Roger Mace, said: “I have already met someone whose friend was at the arena last night, and my thoughts are with all the people whose lives have been affected by the tragedy.
“The support offered at the scene of the incident by the emergency services and the citizens of Manchester who rushed to the aid of the lost and wounded is a reminder of the true spirit of the British people.”
More to come.