AN out-pouring of grief, support and love has swept the nation in the wake of a terrorist attack at a pop concert in Manchester.
People from across the Cheadle, Uttoxeter and Blythe Bridge areas took to social media, with thousands of others across the world, to declare their support and express their sorrow after a suicide bomb attack as a concert by Ariana Grande drew to a close.
An explosion at Manchester Arena took the lives of 22 people and left a further 59 suffering serious injuries.
Original reports of a ‘huge bang’ at around 10.45pm on Monday 22nd May, were thought to have resulted from an accident involving an exploding balloon or falling stage equipment.
Within hours it became clear the explosion was the result of a suicide bomb near the foyer of the venue as people were making their way home.
Ariana Grande was not hurt in the attack, but later tweeted that she was “broken.”
No official announcement has yet been made, but the singer’s European tour is thought to have been indefinitely suspended.
Social media proved to be a key tool as families frantically tried to locate youngsters attending the concert.
Times and Echo readers joined people across the globe as they expressed their sorrow on Facebook and Twitter.
Adam Peaty, Rachel Shenton and Lev Wood were among celebrities to post messages of sorrow and support online and up-dates from emergency services were shared widely across the platforms.
Staffordshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable, Emma Barnett issued a statement yesterday expressing condolences and offering reassurances to communities.
She said: “We are all utterly appalled by the actions of this individual, and as a community we are shocked by the horrific events that played out last night.
“The police and security services believe that the attack was carried out by one man, but now need to know whether he was acting alone or as part of a wider group. It will take some time to establish these facts, and the investigation will continue.
“In the meantime I would like to take this opportunity to reassure the residents and communities of Staffordshire, that there is no intelligence or a direct threat to our county at this time. However, as ever the threat level remains severe. This means an attack is highly likely.
“The response by our colleagues at Greater Manchester Police, along with other emergency services has been exemplary.
“As a nearby force, we have of course provided a small amount of mutual aid and we are on standby to provide any further support needed.
“For those directly affected by the incident, there is a dedicated emergency number for those concerned about loved one or anyone who may have been injured at the Manchester Arena. You can call 0161 856 9400.”
Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, also expressed his horror at the attack: “We cannot allow the cowardly actions of extremists to change the way we live our lives. I’m reassured by the briefing I’ve received today following the events in Manchester.
“Communities across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent must remain vigilant and it is vital that all of us, no matter how hard it might be, support our police and security services with information.”
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