The bells of Manchester’s best-known Catholic Church St Mary’s – the so-called ‘Hidden Gem’ – will ring out at 10.31pm tonight, the exact time of the suicide attack a year ago that left 22 people dead.
They will be joined by the bells of St Ann’s Church, also in the city centre, and of Manchester Town Hall, as the community comes together to remember events at the Ariane Grande concert, which ended with the detonation of a bomb as hundreds of people made their way out of the Manchester Arena, where the concert was being staged. As well as those who died, a further 800 were injured.
Amongst dignitaries who will join relatives and representatives of the emergency services at the memorial service at Manchester Cathedral will be the Duke of Cambridge, and Prime Minister Theresa May, and events there will be relayed to big screens at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, York Minster and Glasgow Cathedral. At 2.30pm there will be a minute’s silence, which will be echoed beyond the cathedral in shops and offices in Manchester itself and across Britain.
Other masses of remembrance will be held at the city’s churches, including one celebrated by Bishop of Salford John Arnold at Salford Cathedral at 7pm.
Also this evening, choirs from the city and beyond including a choir formed by survivors and others affected by the tragedy – will gather in Albert Square for an event entitled Manchester Together With One Voice. And images and words will also be projected onto St Ann’s Church and other parts of St Ann’s Square – which became a focal point for many thousands of grieving well-wishers in the wake of the bombing as part of another event called There Is A Light.
Ariana Grande, who returned to Manchester for a memorial concert a fortnight after the attack, posted a special Twitter message to mark the anniversary, featuring the bee image which became a symbol of Manchester’s spirit of survival. “Thinking of you all today and every day.” she said. “I love you with all of me and am sending you all of the light and warmth I have to offer on this challenging day”.