When a suicide bomber detonated his device outside of her concert in Manchester Arena on 22 May, Ariana Grande was left “broken” and racked with guilt.
Now, in an incredibly poignant gesture, one of the singer’s young fans has reached out and apologised to Grande over the incident – and firmly reminded her that she is every bit as much of a victim as everyone else caught up in the attack that night.
Poppy Sutcliffe, 10, was at the gig in Manchester on the night of the attack – and she and her mother were both lucky enough to leave the arena physically unharmed.
Appearing on BBC News, Sutcliffe recalled how she had heard “two bangs” that night, before everyone “started screaming and running away”.
With an emotional maturity that belies her age, Sutcliffe recognised that the incident must have been every bit as horrific for Grande as it was for her fans. So, in a bid to help Grande to process her feelings, Sutcliffe sat down and penned a letter to her “favourite singer of all time”.
To Ariana Grande,
I am your number 1 fan!!! I was at your concert on the 22nd May 2017, Manchester and I am very sorry that someone set some bombs off.
I hope you are ok and that you will come back to England again to perform.
Overall you were so good I can’t describe how amazing you were.
I am extremely sorry silly people do things like this and I really hope you’re not too scared.
Keep writing and singing awesome songs,
Love from your No 1 fan x x x
Grande, who was ushered out of the venue shortly after the incident, took to Twitter shortly after the attack.
In a brief and emotional tweet, she expressed her sincerest apologies to everyone affected by the attack, including the 64 who were injured, and the friends and family of the 22 victims who lost their lives.
“From the bottom of my heart, I am so, so sorry,” said Grande. “I don’t have words.”
According to multiple reports, Grande has remained inconsolable over the attack, which left children as young as eight among the dead.
She has, out of respect to the victims, cancelled her upcoming concerts in London, Belgium, Poland, and Germany, and returned to her hometown of Boca Raton in Florida.
In a statement, Grande's management said: “We ask at this time that we all continue to support the city of Manchester and all those families affected by this cowardice and senseless act of violence.
“Our way of life has once again been threatened but we will overcome this together.”
The UK’s terror threat level has, since Salman Abedi detonated his device on Monday, been raised to ‘critical’ – the highest level for the first time in a decade.
On Friday, police revealed that they had eight men in custody “on suspicion of offences contrary to the Terrorism Act” in connection with the Manchester Arena atrocity. And the Metropolitan Police have confirmed that extra officers will be on duty this weekend for the FA Cup final at Wembley and the Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham.
Chief Superintendent Jon Williams reassured the public, saying: “We have a long history of delivering safe and secure major sporting events. The focus is the safety and security of fans.”
He added: “Our operations will include a range of highly visible but also covert and discreet tactics and this will run far beyond the final whistle and away from specific stadia. This will also apply right throughout the transport network."
Images: BBC News/Rex Features