A ‘Peace and Unity’ vigil was held at Newcastle’s Grey’s Monument to pay tribute to those who have been affected by the Manchester Arena bombing.
Organised by Labour councillor Dipu Ahad, the vigil remembers those who have lost their lives or been injured by the suicide attack at the Ariana Grande concert.
Reverend Christine Hardman, The Bishop of Newcastle, said: “It is really important that here we are right in the heart of the City of Newcastle, expressing that we stand with Manchester. To hear that all these lovely young people, some of them children going out to have a fun night; Something that could happen here in Newcastle, too, that it should end with lives ended prematurely, people’s lives torn apart, terrible injuries. I think we all stand heartbroken and shocked.”
MP Chi Onwurah said: “It’s sickening and it’s shocking, but at the same time we’ve seen the fantastic response, the emergency services, the real fantastic opening of hearts and homes in Manchester. This (vigil) is about Newcastle coming together to say that we are grieving, we are sickened. At the same time, we also are stronger in our communities. It’s the respect, and the love indeed that we have for all the different communities in Newcastle who make us stronger to share this grief and horror together.”
MP Chi also stated that “it’s a horror that touches all of us, we can’t imagine what their parents are going through. We need to stand together in supporting all those who are affected by this terrible attack on all of us”. She has added that that the government will be supporting the victim’s “financially and emotionally” and that she will “personally be doing all I can to ensure whoever has been impacted by the attacks in Newcastle is supported.”
Chloe Rutherford, 17, and Liam Curry, 19, from South Shields and Philip Tron and Courtney Boyle from Gateshead have still not been found after the attack.
— LD (@LanaDavies1) May 23, 2017
— Rebecca Rogan (@beckyroganox) May 23, 2017
Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “We won’t give in to this kind of terrorism, we’re determined to drive it out of our communities and today we stand shoulder to shoulder with each other and with Manchester in a time of need.
“Terrorist incidents can happen anywhere as terrorists are indiscriminate in who they target and who they attack. It is important that we are constantly vigilant in this city and in our towns and villages as well against any prospect of terrorism activity and the best way we can beat it is to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to the police.
“It’s really important that we don’t allow fear and division to enter our communities and sow the seeds of doubt. It’s really important that we stand together and show that this won’t affect our way of life. It won’t affect our freedoms, and the best way to do that is for people to go about their normal day to day business.”
Northumbria Police will be conducting extra patrols with armed officers in key areas such as city centres and transport hubs to reassure the public of the security measures in place. This will be in combination with military forces deployed as part of Operation Temperer.
Members of the public are reminded to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police or by calling the Anti-Hotline on 0800 789 321 or visit www.gov.uk/ACT.