Manchester arena attack 'halo' memorial opens to public

5 January 2022, 12:16

The halo-shaped Glade of Light remembers those who lost their lives in the 22 May 2017 Manchester terror attack
The halo-shaped Glade of Light remembers those who lost their lives in the 22 May 2017 Manchester terror attack. Picture: Manchester City Council

By Daisy Stephens

A memorial to the 22 people murdered in the Manchester Arena terror attack will officially open to the public today.

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The Glade of Light memorial is a white marble "halo" bearing the names of those killed in the May 2017 attack.

Families of those who lost loved ones have been able to make personalised memory capsules, containing mementos and messages, which are embedded inside the halo.

They have also been given the opportunity to visit privately before the memorial opens.

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The tribute is conceived as a living memorial - a peaceful garden space for remembrance and reflection, featuring plants which grow naturally in the UK countryside and have been selected to provide year-round colour and echo the changing seasons.

Around the anniversary every year, May 22, the white flowers of a hawthorn tree planted at its centre will bloom.

Manchester City Council leader Bev Craig said those who died in the attack now had a "lasting memorial" as well as a "permanent place in the hearts" of Manchester's residents.

"We will never forget those whose lives were lost on 22 May 2017," she said.

"They already had a permanent place in the hearts of Manchester people.

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"Now they have a lasting memorial in the heart of our city.

"The Glade of Light is a beautiful tribute to them and somewhere which will also have profound meaning for everyone affected by the attack.

"We hope the memorial site will be a place of peace and comfort, standing as a reminder that love is stronger than hate."

Fences around the site, where work began in March last year, will be taken down for the public to be able to visit the memorial on Wednesday.

An official opening event is planned for spring 2022, ahead of the fifth anniversary of the attack.

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The memorial is located between Manchester Cathedral and Chetham's School of Music, at the foot of Fennel Street where it meets Victoria Street.

Hundreds of people were injured alongside the 22 who died, who included six children under 16, the youngest aged just eight, in the attack by suicide bomber Salman Abedi at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at the Arena.