Manchester attack: St Ann’s Square tributes in photos

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On Monday 22 May 2017, 22 girls, women and young men were killed when a suicide bomb went off in Manchester Arena at the end of an Ariana Grande concert. It was the deadliest terror attack in the UK since the London bombings of 2003.

A vigil was held the following evening in Albert Square in the city centre, and shortly after that floral tributes were placed in nearby St Ann’s Square. Television broadcasts in the following days used the Square as a backdrop, and the tributes kept growing daily.

These are photos I took on Friday 26 May, four days after the attack, and on Thursday 2 June – by which time the tributes had spread to places I’d been standing to take the first pictures.
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While I was there both times the atmosphere was hushed, and interactions were painstakingly polite. It felt like we were part of a memorial service congregation. MA_seaofflowers
Some people were giving out food and bottles of water on my first visit – these are some of their faces.

The Manchester bee, symbol of the city, featured in several of the tributes.

On my first visit with my daughter, aged 13, there were hand-written tributes in chalk on paving stones at the centre of the Square. By my second visit six days later, these were fully covered over with yet more flowers and balloons.

Since the 22nd of May, Ariana Grande has returned to Manchester to stage a concert in the victims’ memory. Seven more people have died in terror attacks in London. In two days’ time there is a general election.

But beyond the furious pace of events, the families and their loss remain. The tributes at St Ann’s Square brought home to me Philip Larkin’s line, “All that remains of us is love.” Their lives ended too early, but the love of their families, friends and communities will carry on.

Liz Law eBay trader: What she does and why you need her

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Too busy to sell your stuff on eBay? There’s someone who’ll do it for you.

It’s 8.30am on a Monday morning and my dining room table is covered in Build a Bear clothes while on the floor Sylvanian Families houses are arranged along the wall. Upstairs, all the clothes I don’t wear but can’t bring myself to give away are draped across the bed.

I’m due a visit from Liz Law, eBay trader from Hale, who’s been recommended by no fewer than three people… and that was before I even knew what an eBay trader was.

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Brexit or Regretix? What do Altrincham people say now?

On 23 June the people of Altrincham voted in the EU Referendum. Trafford voted Remain, as did Manchester, but the North West as a region voted Leave. After a week where the PM resigned, the pound fell, markets tumbled and leadership of both major political parties is in chaos, how do people feel about their vote?

I took a quick trip around Altrincham town centre to ask, starting with the independently owned shops on the Downs and Stamford New Road:

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Why someone tried to steal the flagstones from my front garden

When I went to leave my house in Altrincham for my 7am shift at MediaCity, everything seemed normal. Until I opened my front door and saw this.

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No great catastrophe, but one of our flagstones was pulled up and broken, and the gate left open. I’d read about thefts of entire driveways of York stone flags, so knew that someone had tried to steal ours and been disturbed or though better or if.

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Marie Kondo: What a local expert thinks about the ‘magic of tidying’ sensation

Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, has taken the UK and the world by storm. The Japanese ‘organising consultant’ urges us to turn our wardrobes, bookshelves and kitchen drawers inside out and keep only items that are useful or spark joy.

Three million copies of the book have been sold and Marie promises that if we do it right and by her rules, we’ll never have to tidy again. So that means that thousands of UK women and hundreds right here in Manchester have permanently scratched ‘tidying’ off their to do lists, right? Er, maybe not.

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New fitness studio rescues forgotten Altrincham building

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Before and after: Abi Jeffrey, one of Nicholas Griffin’s Atlas Physique clients

On Saturday 19 March another new business opens its doors in Altrincham – Atlas Physique a personal training and fitness studio run by popular local trainer Nicholas Griffin, at 1 Market Street in the town centre.

Starting his own business is a dream of Nicholas’ ever since he left the Army in 2012 and found a new career in fitness. ‘Being able to empower people to change was what I really loved about it,’ said Nick, who’s trained more than 500 clients in Hale and Altrincham.

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