Manchester 22/05/17

Image Credit: Manchester Evening News

I love Manchester and I have called it my home for 22 years – all my life.

Yesterday when the first news reports were breaking, I didn’t want to believe it. But as more information started coming in, I was in shock and truly saddened. Like many people have said, you never think it is going to happen in your city, so close to you.

I live about 15 minutes walk from Manchester Arena. When I am feeling lazy and I decide to take the bus, it passes Victoria station and the Arena so that area is so familiar to me. I have enjoyed many concerts there over the years – Placebo, Bring Me The Horizon, 5 Seconds of Summer, Taylor Swift and One Direction. Concerts are one of my favourite things ever, and it’s sad that people will feel more apprehensive about going to enjoy their favourite artists/bands.

I had BBC news on throughout the night until around 3am, it was a very scary time. I could hear the helicopters circulating overhead. There was confusion and lack of information when reports of an incident started coming in. It was so heartbreaking to find out that there were so many fatalities and injuries.

I attended the vigil held in front of Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, with my friend, Fatima. I have never experienced anything like this before – so many people packed out the square to show support. Although we couldn’t see anything, we could hear and we could feel. There was applause and thanks for the amazing emergency services. There was a moving poem by the poet Tony Walsh. There was a silence to remember those we lost. When there was applause and cheers of “Manchester!” – we could feel the love and the solidarity of the people of Manchester.

It has been a horrible two days. It really reminds you of how important your family and friends are. My thoughts are with all those who were affected. Stay strong Manchester.

Through volunteering I met this wonderful lady who supported me massively throughout my time there. I left the role last summer. After sending her Easter greetings I was informed today that she had passed away over a month ago. This was such a shock, she was a lovely woman who treated me with kindness and encouraged me greatly to achieve what I want to in my studies and in life. Every week, I looked forward to serving drinks and sandwiches and having a chat with her. I keep remembering things that she used to ask me to do, including untangling her headphones :). This news has been upsetting to me, but I hope she is well. I am so thankful for having had a chance to meet and befriend her in these past 3 years of my life.