Manchester: a city of determination and strength; the epitome of success and a symbol of togetherness. As a society, Manchester is precious in so many ways; we have some of the most developed technology; we are the home of some of the most successful musicians and artists in the world; we are the sporting capital of the UK, if not the World and we are a city of love. In times of need we are able to rely on those around us to help get us through. Manchester is a beaming torch in the darkest skies and thanks to the extraordinary individuals in our town, we are able to stand together and support those in need.

On 22nd May 2017 Manchester experienced a devastating attack in at the Manchester Arena which resulted in the tragic death loss of 22 innocent lives and over 50 people being injured, many of which were young children. Such a tragic incident trapped approximately 21,000 guiltless and petrified families and children; they were left unable to escape and not knowing what to do next. I cannot imagine how hard that must have been. The confusion and fear of now knowing about what would happen is truly horrifying; my condolences and thoughts go to the friends and family of people at the concert and those caught in the brutal conflict. I add to this that the shock is more prominent than ever: we have heard of the terror attacks in London, Paris, Belgium, and Turkey and yet, when it is only 15 minutes down the road the nightmare becomes a reality. This heartbreaking event has turned one of the most memorable nights of people’s lives into a sickening and horrifying attack that we will never forget. I am truly shocked.However, in all of this evil and sin, Manchester has pulled together; we have had police and emergency services working tirelessly through the night and days to help those in need. Manchester has come together and shown the World how strong and brave we are.

I feel proud. I feel proud that we are showing the terrorists that they will not defeat us, they will not define us and we will carry on our normal lives. The UK has survived the might of the IRA and Al-Queada and so we can and we must show our strength to ISIS. These are not brave people, they are not stronger than us and they will not scare us; they are cowards, they are cowards that are trying to ruin the peace we have. But we will not let them. I understand this is a terrible time, I understand that people will be scared to go to concerts, to go shopping or to town; but that also means they have won. I am not saying I am not frightened, because I am. But I am also not prepared to live in fear for my life. I will continue to go to Manchester City Centre, to concerts, to the Arndale and to the Trafford Centre. I will continue to hold the hand of the person by my side and support them come what may. I hope with all my heart you can do the same.

Will you allow them to determine your actions? I won’t. I will not let somebody who thinks they have the right to stand in our city waving a gun around, to scare me. It is an excruciating time, but this is when we shine our brightest. We, the younger generation are the most affected by this outrage, it is us that are going to be growing up with it, it is us that will have to learn to live with it. This is the time to be grown up, this is the time we stand together and make ourselves, and our families and friends proud. I am not asking you to walk around Manchester handing out blankets and food, I’m not asking you to stop crying, I’m not asking you to promote violence against these people. But I am asking you to be brave and be proud. This is hard, this is very hard, but it is at times like this that we show our true, Manchester colours.

Let us be fearless in the face of peril; let us be brave in the face wrath of cowardice and let us be of help to those around us. Manchester, I am proud of our city and I will continue to be. You should be too.

Millie Walford
Head Girl

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