Sporting events and concerts have taken place across the UK amid heightened security following the suicide bomb attack in Manchester. The Duke of Cambridge laid a wreath in tribute to the victims of the Manchester Arena attack on the pitch before the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium. An accompanying note, signed by the Prince, read: “We will never fear coming together to celebrate all that unites us. “In memory of the friends and family taken from us in Manchester.”
A minute’s silence was also held to remember the 22 people killed.
Image: Wreaths were laid on the pitch at Wembley in memory of the Manchester victims
Heightened security measures were in place at the 90,000-capacity stadium, with a helicopter hovering above and officers on horseback patrolling the grounds. Arsenal won the game 2-1. More than 1,000 armed police officers were on standby in the capital as the FA Cup Final and the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham went ahead.
Image: Everyone in the stadium observed a minute’s silence
Rugby fans also observed a minute’s silence before the kick off of the final, which Exeter Chiefs won 23-20 over Wasps after extra time. Fans at both events were advised not to bring bags and to expect additional security checks and searches. Police had urged to go out and enjoy themselves over the bank holiday weekend. Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley – national lead for counter-terror policing – urged Britons to go about their business as usual.
He said: “Enjoy yourselves and be reassured by the greater policing presence you will see. “We can’t let the terrorists win by dissuading us from going about our normal business.”
Image: Fans at Twickenham observe a minute’s silence before the Aviva Premiership Final
A huge security operation was also staged as the first major event took place in Manchester since the attack on Monday night. Hundreds of police officers were on duty at Lancashire Cricket Club’s Old Trafford ground ahead of the Corteeners concert, with 50,000 fans expected to attend. Armed police were stationed at gates and officers in high visibility jackets were in position every 50 yards on roads approaching the stadium. Airport-style security devices were used to screen visitors, with queues as tickets and bags were checked before entry.
Image: Armed police at Old Trafford Cricket Ground as fans arrive for the Courteeners concert
Iron Maiden were also set to appear at the O2 in London, and US singer Anastacia was performing at the O2 Apollo in Manchester. On Sunday, the Great Manchester Run will go ahead as planned with a large turnout expected in the wake of the attack. Nine suspects are in custody following days of intense police activity and a series of raids in Greater Manchester, Warwickshire and Merseyside.
The country’s leading counter-terror officer has said “immense” progress has been made in the probe into a suspected network linked to suicide bomber Salman Abedi.
Operation Temperer, which has seen hundreds of armed soldiers support police on the streets, will be gradually wound down from midnight on Monday after the UK’s threat level was reduced from “critical” to “severe”1.
Manchester suicide attacker ‘was known to security services but not thought to pose immediate threat’
The suicide bomber who killed 22 people, including children, at an Ariana Grande pop concert in Manchester1 was known to security services but they did not believe he posed an immediate threat, sources said today. About 59 people were injured when the terrorist detonated an improvised explosive device in a foyer packed with fans and families at the Manchester Arena last night. Police said the atrocity was carried out by a lone male bomber, who died at the scene . He is not included in the death toll.
In Downing Street, after chairing a Cobra emergency committee, the Prime Minister said: This attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenceless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives. General election campaigning has been suspended . Mrs May said police knew the identity of the attacker and were working to establish if he was acting alone or as part of a wider group. It is thought he had been known to the security services but sources said he was not thought to be an immediate threat.
The Prime Minister vowed to defeat the ideology that often fuels this violence , saying: We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage. Greater Manchester Police today said it had arrested a man, 23, in the south of the city in connection with the attack. Chief constable Ian Hopkins said: This has been the most horrific incident we have had to face in Greater Manchester and one that we all hoped we would never see.
The identity of one victim emerged today as friends paid tribute to Georgina Callander, 18, from Tarleton in Lancashire3 . Her mother confirmed her death to them. Shelby Wharton, 17, told the Standard that Miss Callander was kind and loving , adding: We were all praying for her to be found safely.
“Then we were told she had passed away . She was always very open, would talk to everyone . She was so nice .
It does not feel real . I just pray for her family.
Georgina pictured with Ariana Grande two years ago (Instagram)
Miss Callander, an Ariana Grande superfan , met the American singer in 2015 and had her picture taken with her . Posting the image online at the time she told friends: I can t believe this happened. She had tweeted Grande, 23, on Sunday, writing: So excited to see you tomorrow . She is said to have died in hospital with her mother at her bedside.
Georgina Callander was the first victim confirmed to have died in the attack
A relative told the Standard: The family is very devastated at the moment. In London, police deployed extra armed and unarmed officers on the streets. The attack comes two months after the Westminster atrocity and is the worst since the 7/7 bombings in the capital in 2005, in which 52 people were killed and more than 700 hurt.
The horrific aftermath of the attack in Manchester (PA)
Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said: We put extra police officers on duty as Londoners started their journeys into work.
This will continue for as long as it is needed, and the mix of armed and unarmed officers are there to reassure.
“Looking ahead to the weekend a normal, busy and vibrant weekend in our city we are working with all those planning events to make sure we are doing all we can. Mayor Sadiq Khan said the Met was reviewing security arrangements in the capital . He added: Manchester and the rest of Britain will never be cowed by terrorism . Those who want to destroy our way of life and divide us will never succeed. A police officer lays flowers at the scene (PA)
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but supporters of Islamic State celebrated the bombing on social media.
Police were called to reports of an explosion at the 21,000-capacity arena at 10.33pm, moments after Grande, who was unharmed, finished her concert. Chilling: the moment fans hear a huge explosion ring out through the arena (Twitter)
Victims described hearing a bang before being thrown by the blast, which scattered nuts and bolts across the floor. Thousands of young people stampeded for the exits of the sold-out stadium in scenes caught on mobile phone cameras .
Some of those injured are thought to have been hurt in the rush. Witnesses said the scene was like a war zone , with bodies strewn across the foyer . Gary Walker, from Leeds, was with his wife in the foyer waiting to pick up his two daughters. A girl leaps down to flee the arena
He told the BBC Radio 5 Live: I was waiting for the kids to come out . We heard the last song, and quite a few people were flooding out and then suddenly there was a massive flash and then a bang and smoke.
I felt a bit of pain in my foot and my leg .
My wife said, I need to lie down . I lay her down, she d got a stomach wound and possibly a broken leg. Police and concert-goers after last night’s attack (PA)
I was about three metres from the actual explosion. Mr Walker said the blast happened by the door in the foyer and that glass and metal nuts were left on the floor . He said he lay next to his wife for up to an hour until she was stretchered on a table to an ambulance .
His two daughters phoned to say they were safe. Chris Parker, 33, a rough-sleeper, was in the foyer, where he regularly goes to ask for money as crowds head home. He said: Everyone was piling out, all happy and everything else . As people were coming out of the glass doors I heard a bang and within a split second I saw a white flash, then smoke and then I heard screaming.
An ambulance at the scene after 22 people were killed (PA)
It knocked me to the floor and then I got up and instead of running away my gut instinct was to run back and try to help.
There were people lying on the floor everywhere . I saw a little girl .. . she had no legs . I wrapped her in one of the merchandise T-shirts and I said where is your mum and daddy? She said, My dad is at work, my mum is up there . Mr Parker said he also tended to a woman who had serious leg and head injuries .
He said: She passed away in my arms . She was in her sixties and said she had been with her family. Commuters at a nearby station fled in panic after the attack (PA)
I haven t stopped crying . The most shocking part of it is that it was a kids concert . There were nuts and bolts all over the floor . People had holes in their backs.
In the aftermath, taxi drivers turned off their meters and drove people home. Hotels and locals opened their doors to people stranded in the city centre. Manchester City football club opened its Etihad stadium to concert-goers and relatives, who gathered to wait for news.
Family members posted pictures online of loved ones who had failed to return home . A cordon remained around the arena today . Manchester Victoria station, which was evacuated last night, remained shut. The Cobra meeting this morning was chaired by the Prime Minister and attended by intelligence agencies and Scotland Yard s Mark Rowley, the head of UK counter-terrorism.
It is not thought that the bomber was being actively monitored or that he had displayed signs of being a significant threat. Sources said a key focus of the investigation was how he had learned to make a bomb . One possibility being examined is that he was trained overseas, possibly in Syria or Iraq, or had received instruction online.
The Muslim Council of Britain called the attack horrific and criminal .
The anti-terrorist hotline is 0800 789 321.
- ^ at an Ariana Grande pop concert in Manchester (www.standard.co.uk)
- ^ Today Theresa May condemned the killer s warped and twisted mind . (www.standard.co.uk)
- ^ Georgina Callander, 18, from Tarleton in Lancashire (www.standard.co.uk)
- ^ Reuse content (www.standard.co.uk)
- Pippa Middleton and James Matthews will tie the knot in Berkshire tomorrow
- Pair have been ramping up security efforts on the Bucklebury estate today
- Policemen, sniffer dogs and security workers were spotted making preparations
- While one officer accidentally left slip arrangements for today’s dress rehearsal
Police documents today offered a glimpse at the increasingly strict security measures surrounding the wedding of the year, as fencing, CCTV and sniffer dogs were installed on site for the rehearsal today. The guest list will include the second and third-in-line to the British throne along with a host of VIPs and celebrities, so the Middleton and Matthews families are taking no chances when it comes to safety and security. And a photograph of a policeman clutching a document with a breakdown of today s itinerary has revealed the extent of the ‘ring of steel’ surrounding Pippa s big day – from strict arrival times to the step leading up to the speech dais. It reveals a step needed to be added to the church lectern, while ‘protected principals’ – thought to refer to wedding guests – were flanked by security personnel ahead of the rehearsal. The Duchess of Cambridge’s younger sister, who will tie the knot with her financier boyfriend on Saturday morning, has gone to great lengths to ensure security is tight on the estate surrounding St . Mark’s church. A security schedule includes arrangements for the marquee and access to the church itself ahead of the big day – including the security personnel put in place for VIP guests
A policeman holding a walkie talkie was seen holding a folder containing details for this morning’s wedding rehearsals .
The ceremony and reception will take place on Saturday A team of police, security officials and even dogs were spotted on the Englefield estate on Friday afternoon ahead of tomorrow’s ceremony. Two men dressed in black were seen installing surveillance cameras on trees lining the footpath which surrounds the picturesque Bucklebury wedding venue. A large police car was also spotted near St Mark’s Church, with metal fencing securing the guests’ route into the church. While Saturday’s ceremony will take place on the Berkshire estate, the bride’s parents are hosting the reception and have forked out for a 140ft-long glass marquee in their garden. Pippa’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton are believed to be picking up the bill for the lavish nuptials which are estimated to have cost anywhere between 200,000 and 500,000.
Security on an unprecedented scale is in place at the Middleton estate in Berkshire today as a ‘ring of steel’ is set up around the property
A police car is spotted near St Mark’s Church in Bucklebury, Berkshire just a stone’s throw from where Pippa Middleton and James Matthews’ wedding is being held on Saturday
The officer was spotted with security arrangements surrounding Friday’s events . Guests including Spencer Matthews descended on the small Berkshire village for the rehearsal
Security men are seen installing surveillance cameras in trees lining a public footpath nearby
Taking no chances: The three men were seen climbing a ladder to set up cameras as a police car waits nearby . Saturday’s ceremony will see Prince George and Princess Charlotte act as page boy and birdesmaid
Workers were seen putting metal placing in place just 24 hours before the wedding . The guest list includes royals and celebrities including James Matthews’ reality star brother Spencer
It’s no surprise the couple, who got engaged last summer, want to ramp up security efforts; guests include the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well as Prince Harry. Harry’s girlfriend, Suits actress Meghan Markle, is also believed to be making an appearance after flying into London from her home in Toronto this week. Kensington Palace have also confirmed that Prince George will be a page boy and Princess Charlotte will be a bridesmaid. A Green Parlour florist van – the same company that Kate enlisted for the Royal Wedding in 2011 – was seen arriving at St Mark’s Church on Friday ahead of Pippa and James Matthews’s wedding. Metal fencing and rope will ensure Pippa’s VIP guests are safe on the big day . Pippa’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton are believed to be picking up the bill for the lavish nuptials
A black sniffer dog was also spotted in a van on the estate on Friday afternoon . Prince Harry’s girlfriend, Suits actress Meghan Markle, is also believed to be making an appearance
The last-minute preparations come after workmen appeared to be making some last-minute improvements to the church and gardens where Pippa and James will tie the knot.
The installation of the barriers comes after a fleet of Bentley Bentayga 4×4 were delivered to Englefield House earlier this week, which could well be the cars that will ferry guests from the church to the Middleton family home a few miles away for the evening reception.
A gardener was seen mowing the lawns for the second time this week, whilst workers were spotted cleaning and fixing the church’s sign – preparations that are thought to be taking place ahead of the society wedding of the year.
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