Vigils planned in Leeds as city shows solidarity in wake of Manchester terror attack

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Vigils will be held in Leeds later today as people in the city come together to express their sympathy and support for those affected by the Manchester terror attack.

The Bishop of Leeds, the Right Rev Nick Baines, and Rector of Leeds Sam Corley will be joined by council leaders and multi-faith leaders for the service at Leeds Minster at 6pm.

Writing on his blog earlier today, Mr Baines said: "Yesterday my dad was 86 years old. Today at least 22 families will wake up to a world in which their own children will have found their life ended young. The loss can only be indescribable. Life will never be the same again; the sense of injustice will not be comprehended.

"The cowardice of the perpetrator is striking. Isn’t it brave and principled to target unwitting children and young people?

"The emergency services, along with ordinary people who responded heroically, represent the best of a society that refuses to regard such events as ‘normal’. It is shocking, a crime and a sin beyond words."

A youth vigil is also being held by charity Angel of Youths outside Leeds Art Gallery in The Headrow from 5.30pm, with organisers saying it was in response to requests from young people and local communities.

On its event page on Facebook, the group said: "Last night incident that took place in Manchester was a stark reminder how everyone life can be taken in the blink of the eye.

"The younger generation has been highlighted in the media recently as a group in our society who are forward thinking and have the power to generating change.

An attack on our children and young people is an attack on our future; as by request from several of our young people, (Angel Of youths) and the local communities, we would like to stand together with the young people of Manchester this evening, it is important that we remember the 22 individuals who should be standing with us and the 59 injured.

"We have more in common. Hate has no place in our city."

Meanwhile, a vigil will take place at Buttercross in Otley at 7.30pm as the community awaits news about missing mum Wendy Fawell.

St Mary's Church in Beeston will also open for prayers between 7pm and 8pm.

The Rev Lindsey Pearson, of St Mary's, said: "The church will be open tonight for prayer for the victims of the horrendous attack in Manchester, and for peace in all our communities.

"All are welcome, people of all faiths and none. We stand together against this evil."

Leeds University Union held a short vigil and silence outside its building at 1pm.

In a message to students, it said: "In the wake of the horrifying attack in Manchester last night, our thoughts go out to all who have been affected.

"It is so important to stand together against hate wherever it is found, and we hope you can join us in expressing our solidarity with the victims of the attack in Manchester and in unity against the rhetoric of intolerance and bigotry which seeks to divide us."

Flags at civic hall and Leeds Town Hall are flying at half mast today.

A book of condolence is also available to sign at the Portland Crescent entrance of the Civic Hall.

Tomorrow, Saint Hilda's in Cross Green will hold a vigil before its Blessed Sacrament service at 6.30pm.

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