When Ariana Grande returned to Manchester for a star-studded benefit gig, just one week after her concert at Manchester Arena was targeted in a terror attack, there were calls for the pop star to be given the keys to the city.
“Manchester’s properly taken Ariana Grande to our hearts,” wrote one Mancunian on Twitter, summing up the general mood. “She could walk into any Greggs in the city and get a steak bake and yum yums on the house.”
Now, Grande is to be made an honorary Manchester citizen – after the council put forward plans to recognise outstanding contributions to the city.
The singer will be the first person to receive symbolic Manchester citizenship, as thanks for organising the One Love Manchester concert.
The gig, which featured performances from Katy Perry, Coldplay and Liam Gallagher as well as Grande herself, helped raised more than £10million for victims of the suicide bomb attack and was the most-watched TV programme of 2017 so far.
More than 100 people were injured in the bombing on 22 May, in which 22 people lost their lives.
Under the proposals for the new scheme, people from outside Greater Manchester could be granted honorary citizenship to the city, BBC News reports. Grande hails from Boca Raton in Florida – but Manchester council leader Sir Richard Lease said that many people already consider the 23-year-old “an honorary Mancunian”.
“We’ve all had cause to be incredibly proud of Manchester and the resilient and compassionate way in which the city, and all those associated with it, have responded to the terrible events of 22 May – with love and courage rather than hatred and fear,” said Sir Lease.
He added that Grande had “exemplified this response”.
Currently, the only way of recognising a person’s contribution to Manchester is to grant them the freedom of the city, a rarely-awarded honour that has only been granted four times this century.
“This seems a fitting moment to update the way we recognise those who make noteworthy contributions to the life and success of our city,” said Sir Lease.
Grande is now back on tour after taking time out after the bombing. In a statement released shortly after the attack, she said: “I don’t want to go the rest of the year without being able to see and hold and uplift my fans, the same way they continue to uplift me.
“Our response to this violence must be to come closer together, to help each other, to love more, to sing louder and to live more kindly and generously than we did before.”
Images: Rex Features