FLOWERS, candles and vigils are filling the city of Manchester but despite a strange sense of calm, eerie reminders of the city’s terrorist attack on Monday night are everywhere according to Perth woman Michelle Faria.
Having previously attended concerts including Justin Bieber and sporting events, the 26-year-old, who lives 10 minutes away from Manchester Arena, said she had planned to attend the Ariana Grande concert but due to circumstances out of her control was unable to go.
Miss Faria said it was not until her partner woke her early Tuesday morning that she became aware of the situation that had unfolded.
“It was roughly 1.30am on Tuesday morning, my partner had awoken to my phone ringing,” she said.
“He got to my phone and had seen I had about 10 missed calls from home; my mum, my sister my aunt and uncle all asking if we were both ok.
“I immediately started to panic and contacted my family members to reassure them I did not attend the concert and was ok.
“I was unable to sleep for the rest of the night and just tuned into the live coverage on Sky News to find out exactly what happened.”
Miss Faria, who is currently teaching in Manchester and has called the UK home for three years, said while her initial reaction was to want to return home it was important to continue life as normal and show solidarity.
“The feeling here in Manchester is very eerie and sombre, especially in town but everyone has been told to carry on with their normal routines here,” she said.
“It’s quiet, and there are flowers and candles everywhere to remember those who lost their lives and those still unidentified and missing.
“I think the people of Manchester are tight and that is evident in what we are seeing, it says so much about the people here.
“It reminds us of the tragedy but also of those who lost their lives, most of them young children whose lives were only starting.
“Who would ever think that attending a concert which is meant to be an evening of fun music and dance could end in such tragedy?
“I can’t even imagine the pain the parents and families of these victims are feeling.”
Following the cancellation of her European tour singer Ariana Grande announced today the cancellation of the Australian leg of the tour.
Greater Manchester Police have arrested six men and one woman linked to the attack, which killed at least 22 people and injured 59.