Online memorial services to mark third anniversary of Manchester Arena bombing

Memorial services will be broadcast online to mark the third anniversary of the Manchester Arena suicide bombing.

By Jenny Simpson
Friday, 22nd May 2020, 7:00 am
From top left clockwise, Michelle Kiss, Georgina Callander, Jane Tweddle, Saffie Roussos.
From top left clockwise, Michelle Kiss, Georgina Callander, Jane Tweddle, Saffie Roussos.

Lockdown measures necessitated by the coronavirus outbreak mean families will not be able to grieve together today in social surroundings like previous years.

Instead, plans have been adapted to mark the deaths of 22 people following the suicide bombing at Manchester Arena at 10.31pm on May 22, 2017. Four people from Lancashire died when terrorist Salman Abedi detonated a bomb as an Ariana Grande concert. They were Saffie Roussos, eight, from Leyland, 18-year-old Georgina Callandar from Tarleton, Michelle Kiss from Whalley and Blackpool school receptionist Jane Tweddle.

Prayers on Friday will be led by Rogers Govender, Dean of Manchester, including reading the names of those killed, during services at 9am and 4.30pm and livestreamed on the Manchester Cathedral Facebook page.

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The bees at Victoria station

Train operator Northern has placed bee stickers at 2-metre intervals on the floor around the memorial at Manchester Victoria Station, next door to the Arena, to allow mourners to observe social distancing measures while reflecting.

At 10.31pm, BBC Radio Manchester will play a special recording of Manchester Cathedral bells tolling 22 times.

And Spice Girls singer Melanie Chisholm will be performing a four-hour DJ set on Greater Manchester's United We Stream fundraising platform as part of a special commemorative show.

Meanwhile a planning application for a new permanent memorial is expected to go before the city council next month.

The design, named Glade Of Light and intended to be installed on Fennel Street near the cathedral, is designed to be a tranquil garden space, with a planting scheme planned to ensure year-round colour and reflect the changing seasons.

It will also have a white stone ring which will carry the names of the 22 victims.

Figen Murray, whose son Martyn Hett was among those murdered at the Arena, said: "I think it is important for future generations to see it, it must never be forgotten.

"I hope like the 9/11 memorial in New York, once it is established I hope someone looks after it and people come to reflect and pay their respects."