Today, Saturday May 22nd 2021, marks four years since the Manchester Arena attack at an Ariana Grande concert.
In 2017, the pop star had just finished playing to a crowd of adoring and mostly 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 a bit differently, as while pandemic-related restrictions do remain in place there will be some limited scope for gathering.
This year the anniversary will be marked with acts of remembrance at a morning (9am) and evening (4.30pm) prayer service at Manchester Cathedral.
During the services the names of those who lost their lives will be read out, with the services livestreamed on the Manchester Cathedral Facebook page.
The cathedral will be open from 9.30am to 4.30pm during the day for private prayer and lighting candles, as people look to pay tribute to those affected by the events of that day.
However, leaving floral or other tributes outside the cathedral and around the city centre is being politely discouraged this year.
The cathedral bells, as well as the bells of those at St Ann’s Church, will be tolled at 10.31pm on the day to mark the exact anniversary of the attack.
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’.
Today, most importantly, 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 died. 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.
While the memorials this year will remain low-key, from next year the main focus point for commemorations will be the new Glade of Light memorial, with work on this expected to be finished by December, ready for next year’s fifth anniversary.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester will never forget the terrible events of 22 May, 2017 nor the moving way the city came together to express solidarity with all those affected by the attack and a determination not to give in to hatred.
“This year will pay our respects once more, albeit in a necessarily low key fashion, and our thoughts remain especially with the families of those who lost loved ones in the attack.”
Joanne Roney OBE, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, added: “Four years may have passed, but we know that for many the pain of what happened on 22 May 2017 has not diminished.
“We will always remember those who were killed, as well as those left with physical and mental injuries.
“Of course, anniversaries have a particular resonance but we don’t just remember them one day every year and it is heartening that good progress is being made on the city’s permanent memorial.”
Our thoughts are with those who tragically lost their lives in the attack, and others who were affected by the events of that day.
Manchester will never forget.
Here’s what happened to the infamous Kersal Massive after their early viral fame
The ringleader of the notorious rap trio was tracked down a few years ago…
Back in the early days of the internet, before the birth of TikTok and when YouTube reigned supreme, an unassuming rapping trio from Manchester were catapulted to viral stardom.
C-Mac, Little F*****g Kevin and Ginger Joe, all from Salford, made up the Kersal Massive, a rap trio that would go on to become instant internet stars thanks to their rap song about day-to-day life in Manchester.
Instead of using their music to address social inequality or political issues, the Kersal Massive instead opted to rap about life in Manchester, grand theft auto and using their day saver bus passes.
Their rap song was actually an entry for a contest to win a Kano-themed BMX, hosted by former record label 679 Recordings. Shockingly, the Kersal Massive didn’t win, but the video wound up on the internet, where they found online fame instead.
The video was one of the first viral sensations to ever grace the internet, and today has over 1.8m views on YouTube alone.
For years people have been trying to decipher the meaning behind the song, with one YouTuber optimistically commenting: “By referring to a ‘day saver’, Little Kev highlights the struggle of the working class, while at the same time bringing up questions about religion and culture with the following ‘laid low, did a grand theft auto’ line, and how the incarceration of the young in today’s western world is affecting our society.
“Such a lyrical genius. A poet in his own right.”
Another commented: “It has been said Ginger Joe now travels the globe giving lectures on philosophy and ethics… and is also a UN spokesman answering questions on the [meaning of] being human.”
Someone even went to the bother of creating a lyric page to search for any hidden meanings or political agendas behind the track – unsurprisingly, none were found.
Despite their initial success and claims of having ‘all the money ’cause we know how to rap’, however, the Kersal Massive only ever released the one song, and were as quick to slip out of the spotlight as they were to enter it.
This has caused many people to wonder what exactly happened to the Kersal Massive over the years, and what the rapping trio are up to these days.
Well, The Tab claimed to have tracked down the infamous ringleader of the Kersal Massive, C-Mac, back in 2016.
They said at the time that C-Mac – real name Callum – still lived in Salford and was working for a law firm in Manchester.
He told the publication of the video: “It was uploaded to the internet over ten years ago. It was done as a joke and then it just went viral. I don’t actually know who uploaded it to YouTube, it wasn’t me.”
Then, Callum went on to break the hearts of Kersal Massive fans far and wide by adding: “I am not in touch with the other two lads anymore.”
While the beloved Ginger Joe is yet to be identified or tracked down, many social media users believed a man on the run from GMP for a series of gun-related offences was in fact a grown-up Little F*****g Kev… though this was never proven.
Did you know the NHS was born in Manchester 74 years ago today?
Happy birthday to the NHS!
Today, as our treasured National Health Service marks its 74th anniversary, we’re taking a look back on its extensive history and the substantial role Manchester played in its creation.
Life before the NHS was a bleak one; before 1900, healthcare was typically provided by charities, poor law (the local welfare committees who operated workhouses) and a criminally unregulated private sector.
Others, including many in the lower middle class, struggled to afford treatment, relying on hospital casualty departments, kind-hearted doctors or dubious folk remedies – as a result of these archaic conditions, women frequently died during childbirth and the life expectancy for men was just forty-eight.
But in 1911, that was all set to change.
The National Insurance Act of 1911, something that many regard as the original groundworks for the NHS, was introduced and, for the first time, provided access to general practitioners for manual labourers and lower paid non-manual workers earning under a certain income.
However, this groundbreaking new system wasn’t without its flaws – fees for GPs were increasing for the middle class and wealthy who were outside the system, and the wives and children of National Insurance members were excluded, as was hospital treatment, meaning that many had to pay further fees or rely on older workers’ society insurance schemes or free, less reliable clinics for mothers and children.
Something needed to change.
Nearly two decades later, the Local Government Act 1929 gave authorities the power to transform Poor Law institutions and develop them into the modern hospitals we know today. And, fast forwarding another two decades and another world war, Aneurin Bevan was appointed as the minister of health and thus, the wheels for the UK’s first National Health Service were set in motion.
On July 5th 1948, after years of hard work from various medical and political figures who felt the current healthcare system was insufficient and needed to be revolutionised, the first NHS hospital offering free healthcare for all, regardless of class, was launched at Park Hospital Manchester – known today as Trafford General Hospital.
On that historic day, Bevan arrived to inaugurate the NHS by symbolically receiving the keys from Lancashire County Council. Nurses formed a ‘guard of honour’ outside the hospital to meet him and, from that day forward, the healthcare of the nation changed forever.
In the early days, there were of course some teething problems – not long after its launch, expenditure was already exceeding previous expectations and charges were considered for prescriptions to meet the rising costs. However, by the time the 1960s rolled around, these early adjustments were altered and it was considered to be a strong period of growth for the NHS, characterised by new developments in the availability of drugs.
Since its birth here in Manchester, our NHS has gone through many changes, improvements, updates and modernisation processes, with no one back in 1948 ever fathoming the way in which the service has developed, pioneered and expanded from Manchester across the entire country.
However, there’s still room for improvement.
Today, the NHS continues to face a national crisis – the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the impact that years of underfunding has had upon our health care service and the long-serving staff members and medical professionals that continue to hold it together.
In October 2020, it was revealed by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) that as many NHS nurses died from Covid than were killed during the entirety of the First World War.
But regardless of the hurdles thrown in its path, the NHS continues to valiantly serve the British public – the idea of a National Health Service once upon a time would have been unheard of, yet today we cannot imagine a life without it.
Happy 74th birthday to our wonderful NHS!
FORGOTTEN MANCHESTER: The rise and fall of Tommy Ducks
From coffins as tables and knickers stapled to ceiling, there wasn’t a lot that didn’t happen at Tommy Ducks…
Out of all of Manchester’s weird and wonderful institutions, the legacy of Tommy Ducks remains today as one of the all-time greats.
But what exactly happened to this infamous boozer?
Tommy Ducks stood proudly down what is now Lower Mosely Street, and is known to have roots dating all the way back to the 1800s.
While it is widely believed that it was originally named The Prince’s Tavern, the pub underwent a name change at some point in the 1870s after its egotistical landlord Thomas Duckworth wanted to name it after himself.
But rumour has it that the painter-decorator hired to replace the pub’s sign either ran out of paint and supplies or found he didn’t have enough room to fit in the full name, so improvised and come up with the name Tommy Ducks, instead.
Of course, there’s no solid evidence for this mishap actually happening, but it is certainly one of the more believable rumours about the pub’s namesake.
Anyway, the pub settled with its abbreviated name and went on to quietly serve the good people of Manchester throughout the 1900s.
But then the 1970’s arrived, and Tommy Ducks started to gain a different kind of reputation, with it quickly becoming one of the most sought after boozers in the city – quite the accomplishment considering it was stood in the middle of a recently-demolished estate.
One of the pubs more popular legacies is its makeshift tables – for reasons unbeknown to most Mancunians today, someone had the bright idea of using glass-topped coffins as tables, one of which was kidnapped by a rival pub for a while.
One of the coffins even featured a skeleton, which many people were adamant was a real one.
Tommy Ducks was also renown for having ladies knickers and bras stapled to the ceiling above the bar, with female punters allegedly been invited to remove their undies upon arrival (yes, before their first drink!).
The pub played home to these kind of shenanigans for the next couple of decades and, by the 1990s, it was one of the last standing buildings in the area, which lay in ruin following a mass demolishment.
However, in 1993 the pub’s temporary preservation order – arranged by punters and supporters back in the 1970s – expired, plunging its future into uncertainty and doubt.
Greenalls Brewery, which ran the pub, was also coming under increasing pressure by fat cat developers to sell up and shut shop.
Tragially, the temporary preservation order expired on a Friday, meaning that the council offices were closed for the weekend. And because the order couldn’t be renewed until Monday morning, demolition began in the early hours of Saturday.
While Greenalls was eventually fined £150,000 for their act of destruction, it was still too late – Tommy Ducks and its abundance of coffins and bras was gone forever.