Being a Manc lad from birth, I’ve often espoused my love of the city whenever it comes up in conversation. From the music, to the industry, to the people who make up the city I call home, it’s a place that no matter where I travel to, there’s this irresistible pull at my heart, beckoning me back. I’ve never been proud of being English really, but I have always been proud of being a Mancunian. There’s a sense of community and belonging that comes from living there. The streets have a sense of memory imbued over them, the history of our city tattooed over the modern and ancient buildings alike. The people too have an unspoken bond, sharing a sense of that history and the culture passing through for the last 2 centuries. Or there abouts. I’ve never known anyone say they don’t like it here, and to me I just get it. I know exactly why without having to say it.
That sense of community is to be tested. Not for the first time, and most likely not for the last. On 22nd May 2017, a horrific act was carried out, resulting in the deaths of 22 people, including children, and injuring 60 others. This took place at the end of a concert at the Manchester Arena, just as the audience, comprised mostly of families, were leaving to go home.
Our city immediately reacted. Free taxi rides to those who needed to be dropped off, shelter in a hotel for the children who’d been separated from their parents, a cup of tea and a bed for those not able to get home after the chaos and confusion tested the city’s infrastructure. We just did what we always do, and came together for people.
It’s unfortunately not the first time either. I’m old enough to remember the bombing in 1996, an act of similar terrorism that was intended to rip our community apart, but ended up doing the exact opposite. Since then, we’ve been so joined as a city, willing to work though issues that come up, bond over events that occur, celebrate our victories and talents we unleash upon the world. Manchester’s been a tight-knit city since long before and long after an act of violence designed to weaken it. And this time will be no different.
In the coming weeks, as more information emerges, this will be used in arguments as fodder for people to push an agenda, as so often happens with such acts of cowardice. That doesn’t matter though. Now, we’re going to focus on making sure the victims are properly cared for, the families are well looked after, and the dead are treated with the respect they deserve. This week on GamerGiving, all proceeds will go to helping victims of this tragedy.
From Bolton to Bury, Oldham to Salford, Didsbury to Wigan and far beyond…this one’s for you Manchester.