After the bomb: Manchester families mark anniversary

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It is a year since 22 people went to a pop concert and never came home.

A year since 22 families had their lives blown apart.

As Manchester marks the first of many painful anniversaries, some say their lives feel frozen in time.

“We’re still stuck there – 22 May. I’m still stuck there,” says Lisa Rutherford.

“I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”

Ms Rutherford’s 17-year-old daughter Chloe went with her childhood sweetheart Liam Curry to see Ariana Grande perform.

The pair were both killed in the bomb blast.

Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford were both killed in the Manchester Arena terror attack.
Image: Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford were both killed in the Manchester Arena terror attack.

It is too painful for the parents to talk about that night, hearing the life shattering news, and learning the horrors of what happened.

A year on, each day is still a struggle.

“We struggle hourly, minutes sometimes, and day to day,” says Lisa.

“The anniversary obviously is etched in everyone’s minds but for us it’s just another day of heartbreak.”

One of the few people who understands is Liam’s mum Caroline Curry. The parents say they have become like family to each other since they lost their children.

Lisa Rutherford's daughter Chloe went with Liam Curry to see Ariana Grande perform. The pair were both killed in the bomb blast.
Image: Lisa Rutherford’s daughter Chloe was killed in the bomb blast

For Ms Curry, this support is a lifeline as Liam’s dad died of cancer just weeks before he was killed in the attack.

“Liam had to grow up pretty quickly because his dad was ill for quite a few years,” she says.

She breaks down as she describes how Liam, 19, had become her rock.

“He was amazing, took care of everything. Took care of his dad’s funeral, right down to the last detail. He was amazing.”

Even at such a young age, Chloe and Liam knew they wanted to be together forever and this gives their parents some comfort.

Their focus is now helping disadvantaged children through the Chloe & Liam Together Forever Trust. They say this is the one thing that helps them cope.

Caroline Curry, whose son Liam was killed in the Manchester Arena bomb
Image: Caroline Curry, whose son Liam was killed in the Manchester Arena bomb

Martyn Hett’s stepfather, Stuart Murray, spoke to Sky News on the Trees of Hope trail that now skirts Manchester’s city centre.

People were hanging messages of love and solidarity from the branches to mark the anniversary.

“There’s a big city around me, millions of people,” he said.

“Why did somebody last year come here and blow themselves up behind Martyn? All the chances, all the odds of that.

“Why did they change our life? If it hadn’t happened, we could have just been normal. I could have just been having a quiet day today… not having to use a day’s holiday for an event like this again.”

Greater Manchester Police has confirmed more than 800 people suffered physical and deep psychological injuries after the attack.

Trees of Hope in Manchester after the bombing
Image: Manchester is remembering the 22 people killed in last year’s bombing

For many, life has taken on a new normal but the suffering, though, will last a lifetime.

There are still many unanswered questions about that night and around 100 investigators are still working full time on the case.

The anniversary will be marked by a national service of commemoration at Manchester’s cathedral attended by the Duke of Cambridge and the prime minister.

A national minute’s silence will be observed at 2.30pm and the bells of St Ann’s Church will ring out at 10.31pm to mark the moment of the explosion at Manchester Arena.

With music such an important part of the city’s fabric, it is little surprise Manchester is also holding a special concert: Manchester Together – With One Voice.

It is expected to once again be packed with people for a singalong to Mancunian classics and an Ariana Grande song.

Poet Tony Walsh read a poem as Manchester tried to recover from the bombing in 2017
Image: Tony Walsh’s poem helped Manchester begin its recovery in the days after the bombing

Poet Tony Walsh, whose words brought the city such comfort at last year’s vigil, met Sky News in Albert Square and tried to find words to express how he feels a year on.

“There are some people who are deeply wounded and we can’t speak for them but as a city it’s strengthened our resolve,” he said, his voice breaking.

More from Manchester bombing

“We’re not red or blue, we’re Mancunians and there’s a tremendous spirit here, a tremendous sense of defiance and community and that got us through this last year.

“There’ll be a tremendous outpouring of emotion as we mark the anniversary but let’s see if we can harness that spirit into better times.”

From – SkyNews

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