Today marks four years since Ariana Grande hosted the One Love Manchester concert in the wake of the devastating Manchester Arena bombing.
Just weeks after a suicide bomber launched an attack in the foyer of the arena following her performance on May 22nd, 2017, the pop star returned to the city to host the One Love Manchester benefit concert in a bid to raise money for the survivors and families affected by the atrocity.
The benefit gig, held at Manchester’s Old Trafford cricket ground, saw some of the biggest names in music assemble alongside the then twenty-three-year-old singer to put on a show in memory of the twenty-two people who had lost their lives in the attack.
Miley Cyrus, Little Mix, Robbie Williams, Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Liam Gallagher were among the artists to join Ariana during the the three hour-long concert, which was attended by a 55,000 strong audience.
Yet, despite the event taking place during one of Manchester’s darkest moments, the concert was undeniably a joyous occasion – a true testament to the city’s resilience and sense of community.
There were many memorable moments from the evening – as the concert went underway, a police officer was filmed on BBC News dancing with a group of children towards the back of the crowd. PC Paul Taylor was seen linking arms with a group of fans and dancing in a circle during Justin Bieber’s performance.
“I had posed for a picture with these two young girls who were with their mum, and they asked if I’d like to dance,” he explained. “I can’t remember what was playing at the time, I think it may have been Justin Bieber. Since the clip went viral my phone hasn’t stopped ringing!”
A choir from Parrs Wood High School in Didsbury became another memorable feature of the event, with two of the choir members actually being survivors from the attack. The school students joined Ariana for an emotional performance of her song ‘My Everything,’ leaving the singer and the rest of the audience in tears.
At one point, one of the choir girls became visibly upset, leading Ariana to embrace her as she continued with the rendition.
Shortly after the event took place, it was revealed that a staggering £18 million had been raised for the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, a charity established by the Manchester City Council and the British Red Cross, from both the ticket sales and donations from members of the public watching at home.
Ariana also donated all proceeds to the fund from a re-release of her single ‘One Last Time’ and a live audio version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ that she performed during the concert.
In a statement, We Love Manchester’s Councillor Sue Murphy said, as per NME: “Thanks to this we have raised more than £18m and we were conscious that we had to get some of swiftly this to those with immediate needs.”
But where exactly did this money go?
Well, Sue explained that following the concert, ‘around a third of the total’ was given to the bereaved families – that’s around £250,000 per family. Meanwhile, £3.5m was given to those who were hospitalised after the attack.
The British Red Cross also reported that it had received more than £10 million in donations in the twelve hours following the concert.
Mum praises hero lorry driver who prevented her son jumping from M62 motorway bridge
The woman revealed how her son was ‘his normal self’ hours before the incident unfolded
The mother of the young man pictured sitting on the railings of a bridge over the M62 last week has praised the actions of the heroic lorry driver who parked his vehicle below in a bid to prevent him from jumping.
A distressing image of the young man went viral last week after being shared by Vulnerable Citizen Support Leeds, a community that provides help and assistance to those struggling with mental health issues and homelessness.
The organisation wrote alongside the image: “This is a picture from the M62 Motorway Bridge – a passerby has posted it to raise awareness of the situation at hand.
“What people don’t understand is that to jump on the other side of any bridge indicates something drastically wrong with their mental health.
“What a trucker – stopping on the hard shoulder and leaving his truck there – to ensure when he did jump – it wasn’t a longer distance to the floor.”
And now, after the picture went viral, the man’s mum, who wants to remain anonymous but is said to be from Manchester, has spoken out and has praised the quick thinking of the unidentified lorry driver on that fateful day.
She explained that she didn’t realise it was even her son until she saw the image circulating on social media, telling Yorkshire Live: “I kept looking at it and I thought, ‘I’m sure that is my son.’
“The picture got sent to me and it was circulated around and I could tell it was him by the way he was sat and the clothes he had on.”
She went on to explain that she had seen him earlier that day and that ‘he was his normal self.’
She added: “Looking back, all I can think to myself is, ‘oh my God, that could’ve been the last I saw him. Before he left, he turned round to me and said, ‘see you mum, I love you’ and I said it back but that could’ve been the last time.”
Speaking of the lorry driver who parked under the bride, the woman said: “He saved his life.
“At the moment, my son has a lot of problems. He has a lot of worries and I’m just grateful that the driver’s stopped him from doing that and I can’t express how grateful that he did stop.”
She concluded by revealing that her son visited a doctor shortly after the incident and is now receiving help.
If you or anyone you know has been suffering with mental health issues, you can call the Samaritans at 116 123, or CALM at 0800 58 58 58. Alternatively, you can find local mental health services and more info here.
Manchester Cathedral launches a new ‘listening post’ to tackle stigma around mental health and loneliness
What an amazing idea
Manchester Cathedral has launched a new initiative that aims to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health and loneliness.
‘The Listening Post’ has been erected in its gardens, with members of the cathedral waiting to listen to those wanting to either talk, vent, offload their problems, or all three.
The cathedral announced the new initiative on Facebook this morning, writing: “Today we’ve launched #TheListeningPost. Throughout the summer, depending on the weather and availability, there’ll be someone to have a chat with outside Manchester Cathedral.
“Hours will vary but the warm welcome and compassionate listening won’t.”
The post was quick to garner a reaction online, with many social media users applauding the cathedral for the touching idea.
One Facebook user wrote: “Fabulous idea – get all churches to do it.”
Another noted: “What a fantastic idea, I may be popping along.”
Though this isn’t the first time Manchester Cathedral has made an effort to raise awareness for mental health amongst the community – once a year, they host the Manchester Sleepout, a giant sleepover to share the reality of homelessness in the city and to offer a glimpse into rough sleeping.
They also hosted an interfaith service to mark World Mental Health Day in October last year.
Describing the event, they wrote on their website: “The World Mental Health Day Interfaith Service was born out a simple vision – for faith communities to collaborate with health and social agencies, to address the mental health inequalities that we increasingly recognise in our midst and in doing so to build a stronger society.”
Manchester Cathedral can be found on Victoria Street, Manchester, M3 1SX.
There’s a new Looney Tunes street art trail with 11 characters hidden across Manchester
There are eleven fun new instalments hidden across the city
Have you noticed an abundance of nostalgic Looney Tunes characters popping up around Manchester these last few weeks?
Well, it turns out that Warner Bros is behind the mayhem with their brand new cartoon trail.
Eleven beloved characters including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Tasmanian Devil have been installed by renowned street artist Captain Kris, and will be on display until the end of July.
Both Mancs and visitors to the city have been loving the colourful new instalments, with social media simply teeming with photos from people who have stumbled across their favourite characters under the hashtag #looneytunesxmanchester.
The trail covers eleven different locations from the Northern Quarter to Spinningfields, Market Street to the Gay Village, Deansgate to Oxford Road, and the Printworks to Primark.
The perfect day out for families and keen street art photographers alike!
On the fun new instalments around the city, Warner Bros said: “Appealing to both families and nostalgic hunting adults alike, the mischievous artwork will see Daffy Duck waiting for a tram at Exchange Square and Speedy Gonzalez sprinting through Spinningfields.
“Bugs Bunny is bursting out of Primark, Porky Pig is popping a pipe at Pen and Pencil, Wile E. Coyote chasing Road Runner around Circle Square, and the Looney Tunes gang is skateboarding through Deansgate Square.”
The artwork has come just before the release of Warner Bros’ second Space Jam film, Space Jam: A New Legacy, which will be released in cinemas across the UK on July 16th.
To stay up to date with the latest adventures of the Looney Tunes gang and for more fun animations and instalments, you can follow their Instagram account here.