Today, Friday May 22nd 2020, marks three years since the disastrous Manchester Arena bombing at an Ariana Grande concert.
In 2017, the pop star had just finished playing to a crowd of adoring and particularly young fans, when a terrorist detonated a homemade explosive device in the waiting area of the arena. The bomb tragically took the lives of 22 innocent people.
This year Manchester will be paying tribute and gathering in remembrance virtually, to commemorate the third anniversary a bit differently with an online service.
The Manchester Cathedral will be hosting a live broadcast on Facebook and those watching are encouraged to light a candle in remembrance to those who lost their lives.
The Cathedral bells will ring out at 10:31pm, the time the bomb was detonated, with it tolling 22 times – once for each victim. This will also be aired on BBC Radio Manchester.
The virtual ceremonies mark a poignant moment for our city. We stood solid in the immediate aftermath, covered the city in The 22 Bee Project, created the Tree of Hope Trail, stood silent in the Great Manchester Run, projected song lyrics on pavements, hosted the One Love concert as an act of solidarity, and showed the world that ‘This Is The Place’.
Manchester remembers the 22 victims of the Manchester Arena attack: Georgina Callander, Saffie Rose Roussos, John Atkinson, Megan Hurley, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, Alison Howe, Lisa Lees, Angelika Klis, Marcin Klis, Martyn Hett, Kelly Brewster, Jane Tweddle, Nell Jones, Michelle Kiss, Sorrell Leczkowski, Liam Curry, Chloe Rutherford, Elaine McIver, Wendy Fawell, Eilidh MacLeod, Courtney Boyle and Philip Tron.
The youngest of the victims was 8-year old Saffie Rose Roussos, whose mum and sister were also taken to hospital on the night of the attack. Her funeral was the last of the victims, and hundreds of mourners attended to celebrate the life of a ‘little girl with a beautiful smile’.
Nell Jones, 14, has been remembered for her kindness. Shortly after the tragic event her fellow students designed a community space in her name. It was filled with pebbles, each painted with a heartfelt and touching tribute to Nell.
Martyn Hett, a PR manager and social media star, was also tragically killed in the attack. He was widely recognised for his quirky humour and infectious sense of joy.
Kelly Brewster, 32, was tragically killed as she threw herself in front of the bomb to shield her sister, Claire Booth, and her daughter Hollie. They survived the injuries but Kelly lost her life in a selfless act of compassion.
Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, from Leeds dreamt of being an architect to ‘build her mum a house’, but her dreams were robbed as she tragically lost her life in the incident. Her mother and grandmother survived the explosion and remember their ‘clever, talented, creative girl’.
A Police Officer of 19 years, Elaine, 43, lost her life while waiting in the foyer with her partner, Paul. Paul left the explosion with serious injuries while Elaine tragically lost her life. She is remembered for her ‘kindness, love’ and ‘huge heart’.
Many other parents and family were waiting to pick up their children after the concert, including Alison, Lisa, Angelika, Marcin, Jane, Michelle, Courtney and Philip.
Ariana Grande released a message of solidarity to her fans and the victims of the attack this week on the approach to the anniversary saying: “I want to take a moment to acknowledge and send my love to everyone that is feeling the sadness and tremendous heaviness of the anniversary coming up this week.
“Not a day goes by that doesn’t affect u and all us still. I will be thinking of u all week and weekend. My heart, my thoughts, prayers are with u always.”
Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives or were otherwise affected on that tragic day – we will never forget.
Explore the abandoned Camelot theme park in these haunting photos
It could be a massive housing estate.
Research shows that nearly £800m of unlocked property potential sits inside the abandoned Camelot theme park site.
Set over 140 acres, research suggests the area that was once Camelot could hold 6,294 properties with an average price of £126,000.
This equates to £793,016,000 of potential property value if a scheme could be arranged.
However, the building of well over 6,000 properties is a huge scale production, unlikely ever to get approval – but there clearly a lot of potential for the area that just sits abandoned.
The research by togethermoney.com into derelict properties includes the Chorley based Camelot theme park in a list of similar abandoned properties all over the world, including Germany, China, Japan and even Namibia.
The research states: “Inspired by the legend of Camelot, the UK theme park located three miles from Chorley opened its doors in 1983 and operated until November 2012 when due to declining visitor numbers the park closed for good.
“Whilst certain rollercoasters were sold to theme parks around Europe, many of the rides remain abandoned seven years later. ‘Urban explorers’, whilst warned off the site, are regularly found walking the tracks of the decaying rollercoasters, avoiding the 24/7 security that roam the perimeter.
“Several planning applications for housing estates have been submitted and subsequently rejected by Chorley Council, the most recent in March 2018.”
Camelot has been abandoned for years now, collecting dust and looking seriously creepy.
You can explore the park in these haunting photos:
Northern accents are all starting to sound the same, new study finds
This is weird!
A new study at the University of Manchester shows that all Northern accents are beginning to sound the same.
Linguistics expert Dr Patrycja Strycharczuk and colleagues from the university have suggested that accents from the North of England are beginning to blend into one.
The study set out to uncover whether there was such a thing as ‘General Northern English’, something they have called the general accent spoken by the middle-class folk of the North.
Dr Strycharczuk said: “I often hear statements like ‘I’m from Liverpool / Manchester / Sheffield, but I don’t have the accent’ – however, there is very little systematic evidence that General Northern English really is a coherent variety, so that’s the question we asked ourselves.”
The study examined the accents of people from Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and more with the results struggling to find a difference between the accents, only finding that those from Liverpool and Newcastle have a more distinct accent.
The study also found that much of the traditional dialect isn’t present anymore, but typical characteristics of a general Northern accent are retained such as shortening words like ‘bath’ and ‘glass’.
Dr Strycharczuk added: “It may seem as though local accents are dying out, but we believe we’re actually seeing a new variety becoming established – educated, urban and northern.
“I think its prestige has increased, and people are now less tempted to lose their accent if they’ve been to university or they do a lot of public speaking.”
What the chancellor’s summer statement will mean for you and your family
Everything you need to know…
Rishi Sunak has announced today the economic schemes for post-coronavirus, and they include some pretty big changes.
Mr Sunak announced a £2bn kickstart scheme designed to create jobs, incentives for businesses to bring people off furlough, VAT cuts, a stamp duty holiday plus more.
Details of how this package will be paid for – by tax increases and borrowing – are expected to be unveiled in the chancellor’s Autumn budget.
Here’s a breakdown of his main points:
Members of the public who have been placed on furlough as part of the government’s Job Retention Scheme are aware that this is coming to end in October, but many people have been concerned for the future of their jobs.
Mr Sunak today announced an incentive for businesses to bring back those employees that are on furlough, with a £1,000 bonus for every person they bring back into the workplace.
He said: “So for businesses to get the bonus, the employee must be paid at least £520 on average, in each month from November to the end of January – the equivalent of the lower earnings limit in National Insurance.”
The chancellor has also announced a £2 billion kickstart scheme that will pay employers to create jobs for people aged between 18 and 24. The government emphasised that they need to be ‘good jobs’, and the government will pay six months of wages plus an amount to cover overheads. The grant for a 24-year-old will be around £6,500.
There will also be a new £2,000 payment to firms who take on apprentices. This is alongside an unspecified amount of funding for career advisors.
On top of that, there’ll be traineeships to get young people ready for work, including work experience placements and work preparation for 16-24-year olds.
Tourism & Hospitality
The chancellor has cut VAT for the tourism and hospitality sectors on food, accommodation and attractions from the usual 20% to 5%, which will come into effect from next Wednesday and last until January 2021.
Mr Sunak has also announced that everyone in the country will be given 50% off meal and drinks for the whole of August through a ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme.
This scheme sees a 50% reduction up to a value of £10 per head on sit down meals and non-alcoholic drinks Monday to Wednesday.
The chancellor hopes this will get 1.8 million people who work in the hospitality industry back in jobs and ‘customers back in restaurants, cafes and pubs’.
Businesses can claim the money back from the government and the funds will appear in their bank account within five working days.
More details on the Eat Out to Help Out scheme are yet to be confirmed.
It is currently being debated as to whether the reduced VAT will be passed onto the consumer in lower prices as many in the sector will consider this as an opportunity to shore up their finances and ail their business.
Buying a Home
If you’re in the market for house-buying, the chancellor announced a stamp duty holiday which could save you thousands.
The rate at which stamp duty will be placed on a home has been increased from the usual £125,000 to £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland, with immediate effect until March 31st.
The stamp duty holiday hopes to get people buying houses again, a sector which suffered a big drought throughout coronavirus.
The chancellor explained that on average people buying a home could save £4,500, and current homeowners moving on could see savings as big as £14,999.
Many people have expressed concerns regarding how this will help first-time buyers. Around 16% of housing sales in England are not liable for stamp duty as is the case with first-time buyers.
Currently, first-time buyers only pay a 5% stamp duty on houses between £300,000 and £500,000 which means this scheme will not affect new buyers directly.
Those buying a new home or second home will reap the benefits of this scheme.
Green Home Grant
Mr Sunak has announced a budget for home improvements that will help your home become ‘greener’, for instance, double glazing, eco-friendly boilers, low-energy lighting, energy-efficient doors and loft, floor or wall insulation.
The scheme will start in September and will see the government pay for at least two-thirds of the cost of home improvements that save energy, up to a value of £5,000.
Low-income households are expected to receive a larger contribution of up to £10,000.
This is expected to create new jobs and enable the UK to achieve its 2050 goal of net-zero carbon emissions. More information can be found here.