One year on from the Manchester Arena terror attack, which took the lives of 22 people, proud Mancunians are sharing photos of their worker bee tattoos on social media, to stand in unity with all those affected.
The worker bee has long been a symbol of Manchester, linked to the city’s industrial past where textile mills were frequently compared to ‘hives’. But in the aftermath of last year’s attack, it also became a tribute to the victims and a symbol of community and resilience recognised around the world.
Sophiemay Bird, 25, got her bee tattoo on Saturday ahead of the first anniversary of the attacks. “I’m incredibly proud of my city, before and after the attack last year,” she tells HuffPost UK. “The tattoo makes me feel that bit more linked to my city. It’s a reminder of where I’m from should I ever leave, and it also reminds me of how resilient Manchester and its residents are.”
Following the attack many tattoo shops around the city held special events to raise money for victims and their families. Hollie Horton’s fiancé, who owns the studio Carpe Diem Tattoo in Macclesfield, dedicated a whole Sunday to tattooing the bees, raising £3,000 for charity.
“My bee was the first one done at the studio and I wanted to support Manchester at a horribly unfortunate time,” Hollie, 32, tells HuffPost UK.
“Seeing so many people coming donating made me feel like there is good in humanity that everyone was coming together and trying to make a horrible situation a positive one. You take that for granted in everyday life. It was a long hard day, but lovely - there was a sense of unity and people just wanted to help the people affected that night.
“Having the tattoo makes me feel proud of the city I was born in and the bee symbol represents unity.”
Michaela Healy, 31, got her tattoo a week after the attack took place. “I joined about 100 people queuing up, who wanted the same as I did, to give something back to the families affected, as all the money raised went directly to them. It wasn’t much, but collectively between everyone it made a huge difference to their lives,” she tells HuffPost UK.
“Personally, Manchester has a special place in my soul. I’ve lived here for most of my life, the bee shows everything that we stand for ‘work ethic and community spirit’ - something that is very close to my heart. To show it off every day makes me so proud to come from Manchester.”
On Instagram, dozens of other people have shared photos of their tattoos to mark the anniversary. Here are just a few of them.