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Manchester marks third anniversary of Arena blast

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After the attack, thousands of tributes to the victims were left in St Ann’s Square

A live-streamed memorial service will mark the third anniversary of the Manchester Arena bomb.

Twenty-two people were killed and hundreds injured in the suicide bombing at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

Manchester Cathedral’s Facebook page will stream prayers at 09:00 and 16:30 BST, led by Dean of Manchester Rogers Govender. The names of those who died will be read out.

Those watching the video stream will be invited to light remembrance candles.

BBC Radio Manchester will broadcast a recording of Manchester Cathedral bells tolling 22 times at 22:31 – the exact time of the 2017 attack – as part of a dedicated programme starting at 22:00.

Because of coronavirus-related restrictions people have been encouraged not to gather to mark the anniversary, or leave tributes, but to mark it online or at home.

On Thursday Ariana Grande sent a heartfelt message to fans, writing on Instagram: „I will be thinking of you all week and weekend.“

The pop star had just finished playing at the venue when Salman Abedi detonated a homemade explosive device.

His brother, Hashem Abedi, was convicted of murder earlier this year for his role in planning the attacks. His sentencing has been postponed because of the travel restrictions in place due to Covid-19.

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Martyn Hett was one of the 22 people killed

The mother of victim Martyn Hett has said this year’s anniversary would be „very strange“.

Figen Murray said: „Before the restrictions, it was really important we had connectedness and reached out, family and friends, but also the wider community, to come together.

„We can’t do that this year. It’s going to be very strange.

„I’m normally a really robust and resilient person, but I’ve had so much time on my hands. I’m struggling a bit.

„I can’t have people to visit, it is very raw, I have noticed I am very reflective, I dream a lot.“

Instead, Mr Hett’s family and friends have been planning to join a group chat on video conferencing app Zoom, raising a toast to the 29-year-old PR manager.

Mrs Murray said: „Zoom will do this year. Since the pandemic, we have all had to adapt and I think that shows how strong the human spirit is.“

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Manchester City Council

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The memorial will be located between Manchester Cathedral and Chetham’s School of Music

Details of a permanent memorial to the victims near the cathedral were announced earlier this week.

It will be a garden space with a stone „halo“ centrepiece bearing the 22 names.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of the city council, said: „Manchester will never forget the terrible events of 22 May 2017.

„Those who were killed, those who lost loved ones and all those whose lives changed forever that night are forever in our thoughts.“

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