23/05/2017 13:21 BST | Updated 23/05/2017 13:24 BST

After Our Darkest Of Nights, Manchester Woke To The Most Difficult Of Dawns

The following blog is an unedited version of the speech delivered by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, outside Manchester Town Hall on Tuesday 23 May

After our darkest of nights, Manchester is today waking up to the most difficult of dawns.

It's hard to believe what has happened here in the last few hours and to put into words the shock, anger and hurt that we feel today.

These were children, young people and their families that those responsible chose to terrorise and kill.

This was an evil act. Our first thoughts are with the families of those killed and injured. And we will do whatever we can to support them.

We are grieving today, but we are strong. Today it will be business as usual as far as possible in our great city.

I want to thank the hundreds of police, fire and ambulance staff who worked throughout the night in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

We have had messages of support from cities around the country and across the world, and we want to thank them for that.

But lastly I wanted to thank the people of Manchester. Even in the minute after the attack, they opened their doors to strangers and drove them away from danger.

They gave the best possible immediate response to those who seek to divide us and it will be that spirit of Manchester that will prevail and hold us together.