Wednesday 24 May 2017

We Are Manchester.

I'm an incomer to Manchester. I've been here 10 years. There'll always be a part of me that belongs back in Derby, but Manchester is my home and it's where I've raised my children. I've felt welcome here from the start and that famous Manchester Pride is contagious. It's even more prevalent than the persistent rain...

I feel heartbroken this week that the city I love so much has been attacked. The city, the people, the kids, the Arena, the love of music. Manchester is the only place you can stand in the queue at little Tesco between a pensioner in a Stone Roses t-shirt and a kid in a Smiths t-shirt and know they chose their own clothes. Music is everywhere, everyone I know has been to Manchester Arena. We've all stood where that bomb went off. And we all know of someone who has been injured or killed...

I feel so desperately sad and angry for the people who have lost their loved ones. The families and friends who will spend the rest of forever standing beside an empty space. The parents who lost their children, the children who will have to navigate their lives without a parent. All the lost hope.

I'm broken for the teenagers just launching into adventures without an accompanying adult - doing what young people are meant to do. What my children do. Dating and falling in love, enjoying that precious carefree time. For the children at their first music gig with their parents. For the parents having a night off. Not one of those injured or witness will be able to just pick up and carry on. None of those people's lives will ever be the same again.

I can't comprehend being a teacher and having to talk to those young people about their classmates without falling apart. Most of all it breaks my heart to think of the young people trying to take exams through this. The pressure on them is so great already. 

I have a 23 year old son. I cannot imagine what it feels like to know that your own child was capable of doing this.

The people of Manchester are already striking back in the best ways they know how. If the intention was to break or divide the people, it failed, we are pulling tighter together. Most Mancunians understand that extremism is entirely separate from faith. We know that belief in your God is very different from becoming a murderer.

Nowhere will you find more acceptance of difference, Manchester celebrates it. Few places welcome you so warmly and without prejudice. Tolerance promotes understanding, which gives us peace. Humans, whether Christian, Muslim, Atheist or any other denomination all cried together on Monday night and Tuesday morning, and stood united to cry again as Tony Walsh read This Is The Place.

We have come together to hold vigils and light candles to show our respect and sadness, but we can't ever take what happened away and we can't bring the victims home. Most of all and rightly so, we will never be able to understand why.

Over £1m has already been raised to help the families of those affected get through the next few months where you can't remember to eat or sleep, let alone pay a bill on time, and paid leave from work can be very short. This weekend tattooists in Manchester are offering the Manchester Bee tattoo for £50 with all proceeds going into the fund. You'll need to book, it'll be busy...

The next thing I write will be about tons of the amazing stuff you and your family can get up to in Manchester and the NorthWest this half term holiday. They won't stop us and they can never win, there are far more good guys than bad guys.

To all of those who are trying to cope with what has happened, we wish you peace and the strength to carry on without hate and anger filling your heart. We won't forget you.

Olivia Campbell (15)
John Atkinson
Martyn Hett
Georgina Callander (18)
Saffie Rose Roussos (8)
Megan Hurley
Alison Howe
Lisa Lees
Angelika Klis
Marcin Klis
Kelly Brewster
Jane Tweddle-Taylor
Nell Jones (14)
Michelle Kiss
Sorrell Leczkowski (14)
Liam Curry (19)
Chloe Rutherford (17)
Wendy Fawell
Elaine McIver
Eilidh MacLeod (14)
Courtney Boyle (19)
Philip Tron

Whatever Your Beliefs artwork borrowed from CafePress - they have it on a t-shirt, it's great. If anyone featured doesn't want me using your images then please say. 


  1. I am so glad that you live here now and are an honorary Manc! I do tend to forget you are from Derby, until I hear you call someone 'Duck' :)
    You are right... They will never stop us xxx love you mate xxx

    1. Love you too. 3 of the big kids went into Manchester today - they will never stop us xx

  2. Lovely heartfelt post Jenny. My heart is broken by this. I love Manchester so much. They'll not win, love trumps hate, always xx

    1. It does, it really does. We have seen far more love this past week than hatred, I'm proud of all of the people worldwide marching and lighting candles for peace x

  3. What a lovely post hon. I have been heartbroken and really felt invested in the hope that those poor innocent victims. They will never stop and love always wins xx

    1. It was heartbreaking seeing the names and photos and knowing that they were unlikely to be found alive, the hell those families and friends went through, and are going through is unimaginable. xx


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