Memorial for victims of Manchester Arena attack opens to public

Glade of Light memorial is a white marble 'halo' bearing the names of those killed in May 2017

The Glade of Light, a memorial to the 22 people murdered in the Manchester Arena terror attack, officially opened to the public from Wednesday. PA
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A memorial to the 22 people murdered in the Manchester Arena terror attack officially opened to the public on Wednesday.

The Glade of Light memorial is a white marble “halo” bearing the names of those killed in the bombing on May 22, 2017.

Families of those who lost loved ones made personalised memory capsules, containing mementos and messages, which are embedded in the halo.

They were also given the opportunity to visit privately before the memorial opened.

The tribute is conceived as a living memorial — a peaceful garden space for remembrance and reflection, featuring plants which grow naturally in the UK countryside and which have been selected to provide year-round colour and echo the changing seasons.

Around the anniversary every year, the white flowers of a hawthorn tree planted at the memorial's centre will bloom.

The mother of one of the victims welcomed the unveiling and said the tragic incident must never be forgotten.

Figen Murray, whose son Martyn Hett, 29, was killed in the attack, said the memorial “would be right up his street” and that he would “love” the people of Manchester to visit it.

“I think a memorial is really important after a huge event like the arena attack because it’s not just important for the people who died and the bereaved families,” Ms Murray told Sky News.

“It’s important for the injured, for the people who have been psychologically damaged and for the people of Manchester because this is such a huge thing that happened in Manchester, it should never be forgotten.

Manchester attack death toll rises to 22

Manchester attack death toll rises to 22

“It’s also a place for future generations to come and remember, so that they are reminded of what happened that day, it’s part of the city’s history and it’s a really important memorial for that reason, and for all those reasons really.”

Ms Murray said she had placed a USB stick, some photographs and “a few special items that I am sure he would appreciate” into the capsule in memory of her son.

Manchester City Council leader Bev Craig vowed the city would “never forget those whose lives were lost' in the bombing.

“They already had a permanent place in the hearts of Manchester people. Now they have a lasting memorial in the heart of our city,” she said.

“The Glade of Light is a beautiful tribute to them and somewhere which will also have profound meaning for everyone affected by the attack.

“We hope the memorial site will be a place of peace and comfort, standing as a reminder that love is stronger than hate.”

Fences around the site, where work began in March last year, will be taken down so the public will be able to visit the memorial.

An official opening event is planned for spring 2022, before the fifth anniversary of the attack.

The memorial is located between Manchester Cathedral and Chetham’s School of Music, at the foot of Fennel Street where it meets Victoria Street.

The 22 people killed in the attack included six children — the youngest only 8 years old. Hundreds were also injured when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated an explosive device at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

Updated: June 21, 2023, 8:48 AM