The nation has come to a standstill to remember the 22 people killed in the Manchester Arena attack that took place one year ago today.
People across the country marked the anniversary with a minute’s silence at 2.30pm, while hundreds of people – including victims’ families, the Prime Minister Theresa May and Prince William – attended a packed service at Manchester Cathedral.
Crowds gathered outside of the church, which hosted the funerals of some of the bombing victims, to watch the service as it was live-streamed on a huge screen. It was also shown at York Minster, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and Glasgow Cathedral.
During the memorial, 22 candles stood on the altar to represent those who died when suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, detonated a device at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.
The candles were made using wax from the thousands of candles left in St Ann’s Square in the wake of the tragedy.
Ariana Grande tweeted the message: “Thinking of you all today and everyday,” adding a bee emoji, a symbol which has been synonymous with Manchester for decades.
“I love you with all of me and am sending you all of the light and warmth I have to offer on this challenging day.”
Speaking earlier on Tuesday, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said that the city is “stronger than we were” a year ago.
He told the BBC’s Today Programme that it was “hard to believe” that a year had passed since a suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured more than 800.
“But in that year Manchester has changed. We’re stronger than we were, we’re more together and there’s a more palpable sense of community spirit,” he said, but cautioned that underneath that strength was deep emotional scars.
“The scars are very real and they are very deep and today the families who lost loved ones are at the forefront of our minds... we are a city in recovery and we’ve still got a long way to go.”
Burnham said the attack, carried out at 10.31pm, was an act of “evil” that affected many young people who “couldn’t image themselves in that scene”.
He said the city continued to support those impacted by the tragedy and reiterated that Manchester would not be beaten by terrorism.
Manchester’s commemorations began at 8am on Tuesday, when a Trees of Hope trail opened, allowing people to walk along a route lined with 28 Japanese maple trees to hang messages of tribute or solidarity on their branches.
The messages are being placed on the trees between Victoria Station and St Ann’s Square, and will be added to the archive of public responses to the deadly attack.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The attack at Manchester Arena last year was an attack on our common humanity. The solidarity, love and support shown across the country and beyond helped us through an incredibly difficult period and demonstrated a collective refusal to give in to hatred and fear.”
Rev Keith W Ross, Locum Minister at Glasgow Cathedral, said he was “honoured” to screen the service.
“By gathering together, in this act of worship, we all receive solace and those affected may share their continued grief and be reshaped by the power of love in the midst of tragedy.”
Albert Square, which was the scene of moving commemorations soon after the attacks, will then hold the Together - With One Voice music event from 7.30pm.
The public will be invited to performances from 3,000 singers from choirs from across Greater Manchester, culminating in a half-hour singalong of songs including Ariana Grande’s One Last Time, One Day Like This by Elbow, and Don’t Look Back In Anger by Oasis.
“It is a fitting way for us to honour those who went full of joy to a music concert but never came back, or saw their lives changed forever,” said Sir Richard Leese, Manchester City’s council leader.
The Manchester Survivors Choir, a group made up people who were at the arena during the attack, will be among those singing.
As night falls, song lyrics chosen by survivors and the public will be projected onto the pavements and buildings of St Ann’s Square, which was flooded with flowers and messages in the days after the bombing.
At 10.31pm, exactly one year on from the moment the bomb went off, bells will ring out in churches across the city.