As the city reels from Monday night’s terror attack, with areas still on lockdown following the bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester Arena, the Queen has added her voice to those condemning the attack, and emphasised the incredible strength and compassion shown by the people of Manchester in the aftermath.
In a statement, addressed to the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Queen Elizabeth II said: “The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert.
“I know I speak for everyone in expressing my deepest sympathy to all who have been affected by this dreadful event and especially to the families and friends of those who have died or were injured.
“I want to thank all the members of the emergency services, who have responded with such professionalism and care.
“And I would like to express my admiration for the way the people of Manchester have responded, with humanity and compassion, to this act of barbarity.”
Later in the day, The Duke of Cambridge also shared a message of condolence (below) from himself, Kate Middleton and Prince Harry.
Addressing the “unimaginable grief” faced by friends, parents, children and partners in the aftermath of the attack, he said the trio “sent their thoughts to all”.
The shock and confusion following the 10.30pm explosion in the arena’s foyer was compounded by the fact many of the concert’s attendees were teenage fans, meaning families were separated as parents were waiting outside to pick them up. Additionally, many of those who had travelled from elsewhere were unable to get to their hotels or catch their trains from the adjacent Victoria Station due to police cordons.
But reports of help and support from both locals and those outside the city have emerged in the hours since, including people offering up food, drink, phones and accommodation via the hashtag #roomsformanchester and #roomformanchester.
One woman, Paula Robinson, has been widely applauded for leading a group of around 50 unaccompanied children to safety, looking after them in a Holiday Inn until they could be reunited with their families.
Others cited taxi drivers offering lifts to and from hospitals without charge, with some reporting that cabbies from Liverpool drove all the way to the city in order to bring people back for free.
Mobile phone shops have offered charging stations and use of phones to those searching the city today for missing loved ones, while local businesses opened their doors on the night to offer people shelter and refreshments.
Meanwhile, Manchester blood donation centres have been overwhelmed with people queuing up to give blood to help the 59 people injured. However, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) says the service has “all the blood required” for the patients in the city at the present time, and urged people not to turn up, but instead to register online or by phone.
Donors with existing appointments are strongly encouraged to keep them and new donors are vitally important for any future incidents. Book an appointment via blood.co.uk or by calling 0300 123 23 23 (lines are extremely busy).
Anyone in need of information or searching for loved ones can call the police emergency hotline: 0161 856 9400 or 0161 856 9900
Images: Rex Features