Manchester Arena bomb memorial: families share thoughts on what Glade of Light means to them

The Glade of Light memorial has officially opened to the public. We spoke to two relatives of those who lost their lives in the arena bomb.
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The Glade of Light memorial to those who lost their lives in the 22 May 2017 Manchester terror attack has opened to the public from today, Wednesday 5 January 2022.

Work has taken place since March last year to create the beautiful garden space which honours those affected by the attack.

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An official opening event for the memorial is planned for spring 2022, ahead of the fifth anniversary.

The centerpiece of The Glade of Light is a white marble ‘halo’ bearing the names of the 22 people who lost their lives. Families of those who lost loved ones have been able to place personalised memory capsules, containing mementos and messages, which are embedded inside the halo.

Figen Murray is the mother of Martyn Hett, who at 29 years of age was tragically killed in the terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena in May 2017.

She said: “I think memorials of this kind are really important after events such a terrorist attacks.

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“It’s really important to us as a family but also to Martyn’s friends and that will be the case for all the other families.

“It is somewhere where we can sit and contemplate, remember and reminisce and just have that quiet moment that we all need when we lose someone special in our lives.”

Steve Howe lost his wife Alison Howe on that same night. He thanked all those in the construction of the memorial, adding that it is a nice tribute.

The Glade of Light, designed by BCA Landscape and Smiling Wolf, is conceived as a living memorial – a peaceful garden space for remembrance and reflection. It features plants which grow naturally in the UK countryside and have been selected to provide year-round colour and echo the changing seasons.

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Around the anniversary every year, the white flowers of a hawthorn tree planted at its centre will bloom.

An outer circle path, including seating, has been included to enable people to linger in the garden for longer if they wish while preserving the intimacy of the halo area.

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