This weekend marks the fourth anniversary of the Manchester Arena attack, in which 22 innocent people tragically lost their lives.
The victims were killed when a terrorist detonated a bomb after an Ariana Grande concert on May 22nd 2017.
Saturday May 22nd will mark four years since the incident shook our city, and while pandemic-related restrictions do remain in place there will be some limited scope for gathering to pay tribute.
According to the Oldham Chronicle, this year the anniversary will be marked with acts of remembrance at a morning (9am) and late afternoon (4.30pm) prayer service at Manchester Cathedral.
During the services the names of those who lost their lives will be read out, with both events 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.
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.”
If you know of any other events to commemorate the anniversary, please share them in the comments.
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.
£150m government funding secured for Greater Manchester’s ‘Clean Air Zone’
It will be the largest clean air zone in the whole of the UK
Greater Manchester will be pushing ahead with it’s Clean Air Zone scheme which will see highly-polluting vehicles face extra costs to drive across the county.
Vans, buses, coaches, taxis, private-hire vehicles and lorries that fail to meet emission standards will be the ones affected by the scheme, as per The BBC.
Heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches will need to pay £60 a day to drive within the zone, with vans paying £10 and taxi and private hire vehicles paying £7.50. Failure to pay the charge will also result in a £120 fine plus the daily charge.
Private vehicles will not fall within the Clean Air Zone, which will cover all 493 square miles of Greater Manchester, making it the largest in the UK.
‘Tackling pollution cannot be ignored any more,’ Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said on air pollution levels in across the region, which contribute to around 1,200 deaths every year.
He said: “Coming out of the pandemic, I think we’ve got to get a lot more serious about people’s health and health inequalities that we have in this city region and across the country.”
“We just shouldn’t accept any more things that harm the health of our residents.
“It’s a fact that it’s the poorest kids in the poorest communities that have to breathe in the most polluted air.”
The zone, pictured above, was supposed to come into effect this year but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and a disagreement between councils and the government over funding.
But GMCA has now received £150m to help businesses and individuals with the transition.
For the first twelve months of the scheme, only buses and heavy goods vehicles will need to pay the daily charge. All other vehicles will not be affected until May 2023.
The scheme is expected to be put into place on May 30th, 2022. Visit the Clean Air GM website for more information.
Scotland’s Covid travel ban extends to Manchester and Salford from today
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has slammed the decision as ‘hypocrisy’
As of today, June 21st, ‘non-essential’ travel to Scotland from Manchester and Salford is prohibited.
Announcing the ban on Friday, June 18th, the Scottish government stressed that their decision was made after ‘careful consideration.’
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stated: “I realise that for those with family or friends in Manchester or Salford, or anyone who was simply planning a visit, this is disappointing but rates of COVID are particularly high in these cities at the moment.”
A government spokesman said Scottish rules on travel were ‘kept under active review’ and could ‘sometimes happen at short notice’ after receiving the latest data.
He added that Covid rates in Manchester and Salford were ‘particularly high at the moment and these restrictions are intended to minimise the risk of either exacerbating the situation there or indeed allowing more virus to come back here to Scotland.’
However, the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has expressed his frustration over the decision, confirming he’d written to Sturgeon to seek ‘compensation for the individuals who might lose holidays and the businesses who might lose bookings.’
Speaking on BBC News yesterday, Burnham slammed the decision as ‘hypocrisy,’ saying: “They’ve done to us exactly what they always complain that the UK government does to Scotland.
“Why should a couple from Salford who are double-jabbed who are about to go on a walking holiday in Scotland not be able to go? It’s completely disproportionate in my view.
“We could have come up with a different arrangement if the First Minister had been in touch with us.”
On Sunday, the UK recorded another 9,284 Covid cases – including 7,778 cases for England and 1,205 for Scotland – and a further six deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
Both nations have seen a rise in the the seven-day infection rate with the Scottish infection rate at 128 per 100,000 people and 86 per 100,000 people in England.
Text message scammer found and arrested by police in Manchester city centre hotel
44,000 mobile phone contacts were found on the man’s devices
A man suspected of sending over 26,000 fraudulent text messages was arrested by police officers yesterday afternoon.
The twenty-one year old, who has not yet been named, was found by officers in a hotel down Charles Street in the city centre, at around 3pm. Equipment used as part of a text message scam to defraud people – known as phishing – was also found in his hotel room.
The man was subsequently arrested at the scene.
Detectives from the City of Manchester Central division and Cybercrime Team seized the electronic equipment and his car as a part of their enquiries.
It is estimated that yesterday alone, around 26,000 text messages had already been sent from the devices, all claiming to be from Hermes asking for bank details after a missed delivery.
A total of 44,000 mobile phone contacts are also believed to have been stored on the devices.
Detective Inspector Mark Astbury, of GMP’s City of Manchester Central division, said: “What we have uncovered here are potentially the components of a highly sophisticated and authentic scam that I know many people not just in Greater Manchester but across the country have been potential victims of in recent weeks and months.
“We have a man in custody and various items of potential evidence that we have seized and this is due to the initiative of the hotel staff, who acted on their suspicions, and the subsequent response from our neighbourhood officers in the city centre.
“These are the very early stages of what promises to be a complex and dynamic investigation, and I would like to take the opportunity to remind the public to ensure they keep remaining alert to the daily risks that unscrupulous cyber criminals pose to them by sending these fraudulent messages.”
GMP advise that anyone believing to be affected by this scam, any other phishing attempts or for more information, they can get in touch here.