Manchester stands in silence to remember 22 lives lost in terror attack at Ariana Grande show two years ago as youngest victim's father says families are STILL waiting for answers

  • Ariana Grande led tributes to victims of the Manchester terror attack today, posting a picture of a worker bee 
  • Suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated device in foyer of Manchester Arena after her gig, killing 22 people
  • Politicians also posted pictures of bees, the symbol of Manchester, on social media to show their respect
  • Father of the youngest victim, eight-year-old Saffie Roussos, spoke of his need to get answers two years on
  • Teenagers India Lees and Darcie Howe lost their mothers Lisa Lee and Alison Howe, who died waiting for them

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Manchester fell silent today as thousands of people came together to pay their respects to the victims who lost their lives in a terror attack at the Ariana Grande concert two years ago.

Some 22 men, women and children were murdered at the Manchester Arena when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated a device in the foyer at the end of the singer's show.

Marking the anniversary, Grande simply posted a bee emoji – the worker bee being a symbol of Manchester – to her Instagram story.

Meanwhile the father of the youngest victim, eight-year-old Saffie Roussos, has today spoken of his need to get answers on the second anniversary of the attack. 

Events have taken place across the city today to mark two years since the bombing, including a private memorial service at St Ann's Church in Manchester for the families of those killed, anyone injured in the attack and the emergency workers who attended the devastating scene. 

A minute's silence was held at 2.30pm across the city, including Manchester Piccadilly station, while scores of people have been leaving floral tributes in St Anne's Square.

Many Manchester residents have been overcome by emotion today and have been embracing each other in the street while paying their respects to the victims. 

It comes as teenagers India Lees and Darcie Howe, the daughters of victims Lisa Lee and Alison Howe, revealed how 'brave and strong' their mothers were and how devastating losing them was. 

The city fell silent this afternoon as thousands of people came together to pay their respects to the 22 people who were murdered in the sickening terror attack. Pictured, a two minute silence was observed in Saint Anne's Square

The city fell silent this afternoon as thousands of people came together to pay their respects to the 22 people who were murdered in the sickening terror attack. Pictured, a two minute silence was observed in Saint Anne's Square

Two mourners are pictured embracing in St Anne's Square, Manchester, after going to pay their respects to the victims of the terror attack

Two mourners are pictured embracing in St Anne's Square, Manchester, after going to pay their respects to the victims of the terror attack

Others have been leaving messages on hearts to pay their respects to those killed in the attack at Manchester Arena two years ago today

Others have been leaving messages on hearts to pay their respects to those killed in the attack at Manchester Arena two years ago today

Ariana Grande has led tributes to the victims of the Manchester terror attack two years after the atrocity by posting a solitary worker bee, the symbol of Manchester, on Instagram
The attack which killed 22 people came after her gig at Manchester Arena in May 2017. She is pictured here at the One Love Manchester concert organised two weeks later that raised money for the victims and their families

Ariana Grande has led tributes to the victims of the Manchester terror attack two years after the atrocity by posting a solitary worker bee, the symbol of Manchester, on Instagram

Pictured: The 22 victims who died in the attack on Manchester Arena in May 2017. The victims were (top row left to right) Elaine McIver, 43, Saffie-Rose Roussos, 8, Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, Eilidh MacLeod, 14, (second row left to right) Nell Jones, 14, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, 15, Megan Hurley, 15, Georgina Callander, 18, (third row left to right), Chloe Rutherford, 17, Liam Curry, 19, Courtney Boyle, 19, and Philip Tron, 32, (fourth row left to right) John Atkinson, 26, Martyn Hett, 29, Kelly Brewster, 32, Angelika Klis, 39, (fifth row left to right) Marcin Klis, 42, Michelle Kiss, 45, Alison Howe, 45, and Lisa Lees, 43 (fifth row left to right) Wendy Fawell, 50 and Jane Tweddle, 51

Pictured: The 22 victims who died in the attack on Manchester Arena in May 2017. The victims were (top row left to right) Elaine McIver, 43, Saffie-Rose Roussos, 8, Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, Eilidh MacLeod, 14, (second row left to right) Nell Jones, 14, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, 15, Megan Hurley, 15, Georgina Callander, 18, (third row left to right), Chloe Rutherford, 17, Liam Curry, 19, Courtney Boyle, 19, and Philip Tron, 32, (fourth row left to right) John Atkinson, 26, Martyn Hett, 29, Kelly Brewster, 32, Angelika Klis, 39, (fifth row left to right) Marcin Klis, 42, Michelle Kiss, 45, Alison Howe, 45, and Lisa Lees, 43 (fifth row left to right) Wendy Fawell, 50 and Jane Tweddle, 51

An invitation-only commemoration was attended by family members of those killed in the atrocity, along with some of the hundreds injured and first responders to the scene.

St Ann's Church and the surrounding square became a focal point of public mourning in the aftermath two years ago as the square was filled with flowers, cards, toys, balloons and candles.

A minute's silence was held halfway through the service which was also observed by several hundred people in the square.  

Grande organised and performed at the One Love concert in June 2017 to raise money for the emergency fund launched following the attack, and has regularly spoken since about the trauma of events that night.

As many people posted messages remembering the attack, the hashtags #OneLoveManchester, #ManchesterRemembers and #WeStandTogether were all trending on Twitter across the United Kingdom.

The inquests into the deaths of the 22 victims have been delayed while authorities await the extradition from Libya of Hashem Abedi, the brother of suicide bomber Salman Abedi.

Andrew Roussos, whose eight-year-old daughter Saffie was the youngest victim of the disaster, told Sky News: 'We're all waiting for this inquest so we can voice our anger or our concerns or have answers to our questions and it keeps getting put back and put back and put back and we're all exploding inside.

'We need to start the inquests to get the answers that we want.'

Survivor Adam Lawler, whose friend Olivia Campbell-Hardy, 15, was one of the victims, told the broadcaster he wanted to see Hashem face justice.

He said: 'I think the main thing right now that would unify a lot of people is bringing him to justice.

'I won't say his name because he doesn't deserve the gratification of a name, so bringing him over, putting him to justice in our system, putting him to justice in any system where he cannot harm people, he cannot be allowed to freely walk about.'

An extradition request for Hashem was granted in October 2017 but he is yet to return to the UK.

The inquests are currently expected to take place in April next year.

Dan Hett, whose brother Martyn was killed in the attack, thanked people for their 'kind words' and said he would be attending a memorial.

He wrote: 'Thanks for the kind words already, all. I'm trying not to post old photos or wistful platitudes today.

'I'm going to do the school run, go to a memorial thing, then I'll probably get drunk and cry with a bunch of people later. This is every year now I guess. Stay okay.' 

Others have written messages of love and condolence in chalk on the pavement around the memorial in St Anne's Square, pictured

Others have written messages of love and condolence in chalk on the pavement around the memorial in St Anne's Square, pictured

Manchester residents have written heartfelt messages or drawn pictures on paper hearts to express their emotions two years on from the devastating attack

Manchester residents have written heartfelt messages or drawn pictures on paper hearts to express their emotions two years on from the devastating attack

India Lees and Darcie Howe, both 17, are best friends who attended the concert together two years ago.

Their mothers Alison, 45, and Lisa, 43, were waiting in the foyer when the bomb exploded, killing them both.

Speaking to ITV, India said: 'I remember saying I love her [Lisa] and I'll see you soon and hugging Alison. Your mum [Alison] shouted 'Darc, we'll meet you here', but we were just running off.

'I heard a big bang and then everyone was screaming. There was a big queue to get out of the door so we just climbed over the chairs instead and ran outside and we just kept ringing our mums but they were not answering.

Darcie added: '[Later] we were watching the news when it was saying the amount of casualties. 

'It started off with 18 dead and it was just going up. It went to 22. There were thousands there so there was a small chance it would have been them but we didn't think it was.'

Both girls said the news took a long time to sink in when they were finally told.

India said: 'They seemed so strong and brave. I just didn't think anything like that would happen to them. So I just kept my hopes up and couldn't believe it until I actually heard the news a few days later.'

A woman is pictured laying down a bouquet of flowers at a memorial in St Anne's Square

A woman is pictured laying down a bouquet of flowers at a memorial in St Anne's Square

Others have left flowers at the scene with special tags attached featuring the Manchester worker bee and the slogan 'I heart MCR'

Others have left flowers at the scene with special tags attached featuring the Manchester worker bee and the slogan 'I heart MCR'

Darcie added: 'It hadn't really sunk in even when we found out. It didn't sink in for ages.'

The girls said they were very close to their mothers and spent a lot of time together as a foursome.

Darcie said: 'We always went out as a four anyway, like shopping and stuff and for tea.'

India added: 'They were just as good friends as we were. I always think about her [Lisa] dancing about and laughing. She always squinted when she laughed. I did everything with her. It was like having another me, but another version.

'She always said to believe in myself and never give up.'

Darcie added: 'I have a picture of her [Alison] smiling. She looked dead nice. My dad always said beautiful was the word to describe her and just how nice and kind she was. I definitely hope I'm like her when I'm old.'

Manchester Arena has also posted a tribute on Twitter featuring 22 worker bees, one for every victim killed

Manchester Arena has also posted a tribute on Twitter featuring 22 worker bees, one for every victim killed

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham was also among those paying tribute today

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham was also among those paying tribute today

Officiating the service today, Canon Nigel Ashworth, rector of St Ann's, told the congregation: 'Like the thousands of people who came into St Ann's Church in the days after the Manchester Arena attack, you are welcome.

'It is important to us to keep an open church, one in which the doors are open and we are open to you. To offer welcome and help everyone feel included is also the spirit of our city.

'This was shown to all of us in an unforgettable way after that dark event. In the face of violence and hatred, we offer solidarity and compassion.

'None of us ever want to see anything like the arena attack ever again, but neither do we want to forget those who died and those who were injured. In fact we give thanks for everything their lives meant and continue to mean, especially to those close to them.'

A large candle standing in the centre of the church was lit for the 22 victims and those injured before members of Chetham's School of Music played composer John Barry's Somewhere In Time, as photographs of the 22 were displayed on screens.

Chetham's Choir also sang Fleetwood Mac's Songbird and Elaine Inglesby, chief nurse at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, read Siegfried Sassoon's poem Idyll. 

Representatives of the Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Methodist faiths led prayers of intercession, the Very Rev Rogers Govender, Dean of Manchester, held a civic prayer and the blessing was given by the Rt Rev Dr David Walker, Bishop of Manchester.

Rabbi Reuven Silverman read from the Hebrew Scriptures and readings from the New Testament were given by Chorlton High School pupil Ameenah Ahmed and Parrs Wood Sixth Form College student James Plant.

Outside in the square, crowds gathered as more tributes were left at the war memorial.

Manchester United have paid tribute on Twitter
Manchester City also paid tribute

Manchester United, left, and Manchester City, right, have both paid tribute today

Saffie Roussos
Sorrell Leczkowski

The youngest victims of the attack included eight-year-old Saffie Roussos, left, and Sorrell Leczkowski, aged 14

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham earlier tweeted a picture including the names of the victims. 

He added the words: 'Today is a day to remember, to reflect & to recommit to all those whose lives changed on 22/5/17.

'We will always be there for you.'

London Mayor Sadiq Khan also posted a message of solidarity.

'We will never be divided by terrorism & hate. #manchestertogether,' he wrote.

Both Manchester United and Manchester City paid their respects on Twitter with images of the Manchester bee.

'This City Remembers,' Man City posted, while Man United tweeted: '#ManchesterTogether: then, now and forever.'

Local emergency services also sent messages of support to those affected.

Islamic terrorist Salman Abedi, a British national of Libyan descent, detonated a ball bearing bomb in the foyer of Manchester Arena, killing more than 20 people. Members of the public are pictured above being evacuated from the arena

Islamic terrorist Salman Abedi, a British national of Libyan descent, detonated a ball bearing bomb in the foyer of Manchester Arena, killing more than 20 people. Members of the public are pictured above being evacuated from the arena

Ariana Grande's mother Joan also paid tribute to the victims today and said they were in her heart 'today and every day'

Ariana Grande's mother Joan also paid tribute to the victims today and said they were in her heart 'today and every day'

Meanwhile London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted a message of solidarity and support to those in Manchester today

Meanwhile London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted a message of solidarity and support to those in Manchester today

The North West Ambulance Service tweeted: 'If this brings back distressing thoughts or memories, don't hesitate to ask for some support.'

Greater Manchester Police wrote of the victims: 'Our thoughts will always be with their families and all those injured or affected.'

May 22 also marks the anniversary of the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in 2013.

The 25-year-old serviceman was walking near his barracks in Woolwich, south-east London, when he was rammed with a car before his attackers attempted to behead him.

The killers were jailed at the Old Bailey in February 2014.

United in their grief: Two years on, best friends remember mums killed in Manchester atrocity

By James Tozer

Two best friends whose mothers were killed in the Manchester Arena bombing have spoken of their unimaginable loss.

As the city fell silent yesterday to mark the second anniversary of the atrocity, in which 22 people died, Darcie Howe and India Lees told of the inspiration they draw from their mums.

The life-long friends – then aged 15 – were dropped off by their mothers at the Ariana Grande concert on May 22, 2017, but tragically both women were killed when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his home-made device.

Lisa Lees, 43, and Alison Howe, 45, both from Royton, Oldham, had given their daughters tickets to see the US pop star as Christmas presents and were waiting to pick them up from the foyer after it finished. 

?We heard a big bang and then everyone was screaming,’ India told ITV News. 

?There were big queues to get out the doors, so we just climbed over the chairs instead, and then ran outside. We kept ringing our mums.’ Darcie said: ?We didn’t want to believe it. We thought they might still be waiting somewhere.’

Tragically their families were later given the horrific news that both women had died. ?They seemed so strong and brave, I just didn’t think anything like that would happen to them,’ India said. 

?So I just kept my hope up and I couldn’t believe it until I actually heard the news.’ Her friend added: ?It didn’t sink in for ages.’

Explaining how much she missed her mother Alison, a sexual health nurse, Darcie said: ?I hope I’m like her when I’m older.’ India agreed, saying: ?It was like having another me. She always said to believe in myself.’ 

Yesterday a memorial service was held at St Ann’s Church in Manchester, where a minute’s silence was observed.

Dan Hett, whose brother Martyn, 29, died in the blast, wrote on social media before attending the memorial. ?I’m trying not to post old photos or wistful platitudes today,’ he said. 

?I’m going to do the school run, go to a memorial thing, then I’ll probably get drunk and cry with a bunch of people later.’

The city’s bells rang out last night at 10.31pm to mark exactly two years since the deadly blast.

Meanwhile, the father of the bombing’s youngest victim has hit out at ?MI5 and our Government’ for failing to stop the attack. Andrew Roussos’ daughter Saffie was holding his wife Lisa’s hand when the shrapnel-packed device detonated, and the eight-year-old did not stand a chance.

The 45-year-old told Sky News: ?I put the blame on MI5 and our Government for this. They knew about him a long time ago. And they didn’t look into him.’

He added: ?This guy went on YouTube to find out how to create a bomb, he went to Libya and came back after a couple of days.’

Inquests into the attack have been delayed amid efforts to extradite the bomber’s brother from Libya, but Mr Roussos urged a quick start to proceedings.

?I’m sorry, I’ve lost my eight-year-old,’ he said. ?Enough is enough.’

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Ariana Grande leads tributes to Manchester terror attack victims

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