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Manchester rallies round to aid suicide attack victims

Manchester locals, businesses and workers offer help in aftermath of attack on Ariana Grande concert
Floral tributes are left to victims of the Manchester suicide attack (Reuters)

Residents, workers and businesses moved swiftly to help in the aftermath of a suicide attack on a Manchester concert that killed 22 and injured a further 59.

Locals opened their homes following the attack at the Manchester Arena to those affected, including children and teenagers who had come to see singer Ariana Grande, or used Facebook's "safety check" to offer help.

'I haven't stopped crying'

Two homeless men were hailed as heroes for coming to the aid of victims.

Chris Parker, 33, had been begging in the arena foyer where the suicide bomber his device late Monday.

Amid the carnage and chaos as people began to leave the concert, he rushed to help victims.

Stephen Jones, 35, who had been sleeping rough near the arena in the northwest English city, also ran to help deal with the gruesome aftermath.

Members of the public have raised thousands of pounds to pay them back for their heroics.

A tearful Parker recounted: "I heard a bang and within a split second I saw a white flash, then smoke and then I heard screaming.

"It knocked me to the floor and then I got up and instead of running away my gut instinct was to run back and try and help," he told the Press Association news agency.

Parker, who has slept rough in Manchester for about a year, regularly goes to the arena to beg for change as crowds head home from the 21,000-capacity venue.

He said he tended to a woman who died as he tried to comfort her.

"She passed away in my arms. She was in her 60s and said she had been with her family," Parker said.

"I haven't stopped crying. The most shocking part of it is that it was a kids' concert."

Jones, a former bricklayer who has been sleeping rough for more than a year, recalled wiping blood from children's eyes after dashing to help.

"It was a lot of children with blood all over them, crying and screaming," he told ITV television. "We were having to pull nails out of their arms and a couple out of this little girl's face."

Jones said it was "just instinct" to help.

"Just because I'm homeless, it doesn't mean I haven't got a heart," he said. "There's a lot of good people with Manchester who help us out and we need to give back too."


The hashtag #RoomForManchester has circulated widely on social media, with Mancunians offering beds, food, lifts and other forms of support to the concert-goers, most of whom were teenage fans of the singer.

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham tweeted about the hashtag.

... which attracted overwhelming support from users.

The hashtags #PrayForManchester and #StandTogether were also popular on Twitter, offering support and solidarity with the victims. 

Taxi drivers have also been transporting people affected for free, as well as arranging blood donation drives to help those injured. 

Other users highlighted the Muslims helping out in the aftermath, following Islamophobic comments on social media.

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