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Manchester mourns at the Glade of Light

CGI aerial view of Glade of Light memorial garden, Manchester (BCA Landscape)

The City of Manchester will be marking the fifth anniversary of the Manchester Arena bombings today. Some will visit the 'Glade of Light' in the medieval part of the city - a memorial to those who died.

Designed by BCA Landscape and Smiling Wolf, on a master-plan by Planit-ie, it was officially opened by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this month.

BCA Landscape said:

'It has been an honour to be chosen to help the bereaved families and the wider team imagine and realise this memorial garden. The design ideas and thoughts behind the ‘Glade of Light’ have always come from a place of heart-felt respect and deep sympathy.

'We believe design is about and for people and it is not a fixed thing on a plan, but consists of an ever-changing, living and shifting series of moments. Our wish for this garden is that it will allow everyone to linger in these moments and search for stillness.

'In Japanese culture the language of stillness can be described by a single word – Ma. Designing for Ma is about creating moments of self-awareness and quiet. It can be difficult to find in our busy lives. Ma is the momentary pause in speech needed to convey meaningful words, the silence between the notes….

'The process of remembrance and healing is always on-going and needs space, understanding and time.

We hope the Glade in some small way can help with this process and it speaks of silence, as opposed to noise and of restraint, as opposed to excess. We sincerely hope it becomes a special place where we can all briefly pause time, find a place of stillness, reflect and dwell a while.

Manchester City Council described how the day of mourning would be structured:

'Throughout the day, people will be able to pay their respects at the Glade of Light memorial near Manchester Cathedral. The memorial - officially opened on Tuesday 10 May 2022 by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in an event attended by many of the families of those who lost their lives - is the city's permanent commemoration.

At nearby Manchester Cathedral, the 8.45am, 10.30am and 5.30pm prayers on Sunday 22 May will include acts of remembrance during which the names of the 22 people killed will be read out. The cathedral will be open through the day for enable people to light candles, or have some quiet reflection if they wish. At 10.31pm, marking the exact time of the attack, the bells will be tolled.

At Victoria Station, there will be silences held at noon and 10.31pm and prayers said by the railway chaplain. Before the silences, the names of those who lost their lives will be read by the station announcer. Floral tributes will be laid, and a memory book will be available during the day for people to leave their thoughts and reflections.

The Lord Mayor of Manchester will attend the 5.30pm prayers and lay flowers on the Glade of Light afterwards on behalf of the city.

The anniversary will also be remembered at the Great Manchester Run with one minute’s applause at the beginning of each starting ‘wave’ of the 10k and half marathon events to honour the memory of those who lost their lives, acknowledge the courage of everyone affected and recognise the remarkable spirit shown by the city in the aftermath of the attack. The Great Manchester Run 2017, which saw tens of thousands of runners take to the streets just six days after the attack, was a powerful statement of the city’s resilience.

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council said:

'22 May 2017 is one of the darkest days in this city’s history. It’s hard to believe that five years has passed since those terrible events. We will never forget those whose lives were so cruelly taken, or those whose lives were changed forever that day. But nor should we forget the remarkable spirit shown in the aftermath of the attack as the city came together in solidarity, compassion and a refusal to give in to hatred and fear. Love proved stronger.

“The fifth anniversary of the attack will have a personal meaning for every one of us. Our thoughts remain with all those who were impacted by that evil act. But however they wish to do so I would encourage everyone in the city to take some time out during the day to remember and reflect.'


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