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This Mancunian’s defiant speech about why terror won’t divide us is inspiring

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Emily Reynolds
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The country has been shaken by the deadliest terrorist attack to hit Britain in a decade.

But amongst the horror, there have been tiny glimmers of hope – the £20,000 raised for a homeless man, and residents of Manchester pulling together to help those affected. 

And this man, we think, sums up the defiant attitude of the city. 

Speaking to BBC Newsnight after queuing to give blood, the man stressed that Manchester would not be divided. 

“We can react in lots of ways,” he told BBC Newsnight. “We can react in anger, or we can react by doing.”

“Why did I stay in this city for 17 years? This city is a community. I don’t care who you believe in, where you’re from, this city is for everybody and we all need to rally round today to show support because they want to divide us. They want us to turn on our neighbours and it will never happen. Not here.”

The man went on to explain he’d been a bartender at the Arena and had met “thousands of people” who had told him “what a wonderful city” Manchester is. “There’s so much to see and do,” he said. “People from all over the world – students, nurses, doctors that come from all over the world to help us.

“I’m sorry I got upset here but I think like a lot of people in Manchester it's just hitting you slowly. This isn’t something that happens in the Middle East. This isn’t something that happens in America. This happened at Manchester Arena.

“So what can we do? Anything that we can do to show support to one another. That’s all we’ve got to do today. And I’m going to stay in town I’m just going to walk about and smile at people. It’s all I can do – just walk about and smile at people. We’ve got to look after each other now, don’t we?

“Because it can’t just be today. We’ve got to realise that we’ve got to stick around each other. We can’t just let this dissipate.”

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Emily Reynolds

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