Guild Holds Vigil for Manchester Attack Victims | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Guild Holds Vigil for Manchester Attack Victims

On Tuesday 23rd May, the Guild of Students held a vigil to remember the victims of the terrorist attack that took place the previous night in Manchester

22 people have died as a result of a suicide bomb attack at Manchester’s largest music venue, Manchester Arena, following American pop-star Ariana Grande’s performance. 59 people were injured whilst leaving the concert from the deliberate attack and more than 20 people lost their lives. Since then, the terrorist organisation Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack and police have named the attacker as Salman Abedi, a Mancunian of Libyan descent.

'I’m calling for us to come together as the compassionate student body that we know we are'

Guild President Ellie Keiller announced the vigil on Facebook in the morning following the attack, calling for students to unite in solidarity to remember those who lost their lives on Monday night. Her post said: ‘I’m calling for us to come together as the compassionate student body that we know we are to stand in commemoration of those who lost their lives or livelihoods last night in Manchester.’

The vigil began at 17:00 with a brief but fitting introduction from Manchester-born Guild Education Officer Chris Wilkinson who emphasised a theme of positivity and resilience against terrorism. Wilkinson offered a light-hearted anecdote of Mancunian humour and its Liverpudlian rivalry, retelling of its historic strength in overcoming struggles through the ‘heart-warming’ and well-humoured nature and attitude of the people.

Wilkinson concluded his positive message by assuring that the city ‘will not be defeated’ by terrorism, ‘not today, not tomorrow, not ever’. He also said that the kind-spirited nature of its citizens will continue to overcome the devastating events of last night.

Guild President Ellie Keiller, also originally from Manchester, followed the speech with a moving tribute to the victims of the attacks. She began by mentioning how the scene of the attacks will be recognised by a number of Birmingham students as a place of positive memories where many would have attended their first concert or would have visited regularly.

Keiller led a tearful speech in which she reiterated to ‘never forget’ those who lost their lives in the tragedy which she called ‘heart-breaking’. She also paid tribute to the ‘heart-warming generosity’ of taxi drivers offering free rides and local heroes who gave shelter to children separated from their parents during the attack, signalling it as a testament to the Mancunian spirit. Attendees of the vigil had a minute silence with their heads bowed after which candles were lit and tributes were left around the fountain in Mermaid Square.

An hour later, another vigil organised by the Liberal Democrat candidate for Ladywood, Lee Dargue, was held at Victoria Square outside Birmingham’s Town Hall. On the Facebook event description, Dargue wrote: ‘We are calling on Brummies to #StandTogether in solidarity with the people of Manchester following the terrible events at the MEN Arena late last night, as they mourn the victims of this horrific attack.’

According to the Daily Mail, the vigil in Birmingham’s city centre was interrupted by a man who was allegedly armed with a large knife and a baseball bat. After detaining the armed man, police cleared the square for a short time as a precaution.


23rd May 2017 at 9:26 pm

Images from

Joseph Timan


Emily Darby