The heartbreaking attack in Manchester reminds us that hate will not win

The news coming out of Manchester today is absolutely heartbreaking.

As I read the various online articles, tweets and social media posts, my heart hurts for the families of those affected by this awful, awful act of terror.

As we were going to bed last night I saw early reports online of explosions heard at Manchester Arena at the end of an Ariana Grande concert. I saw various reports - everything from a speaker blowing to a bomb.

When I woke up this morning and saw the news, I couldn't believe it. I asked myself, once again, what kind of world do we live in?

As soon as I saw it had been at an Ariana Grande concert I knew it would be mainly children and teenagers in attendance. What possesses anyone to want to target young, innocent people?

For many of these children it will have been their first concert experience. Some will have been waiting for this concert for months - the tickets will have been Christmas or birthday presents. They'll have got all dressed up after school, probably gone out for a nice tea beforehand, as the excitement for the evening built.

Many of the youngsters in there will have been without parents. I know when I was younger, and I started showing more of an interest in going to concerts, mum and dad used to drop me and my friends off outside, decide on a meeting point for afterwards, and pick us up when it finished.

The last time I was at Manchester Arena was when I was 17, to see Miley Cyrus. My mum and dad dropped me and my friend outside as the doors opened, they went off to the cinema and for some food, then met us back outside afterwards.

For so many of the kids inside Manchester Arena last night, this will have been the same.

These kids will have been taking selfies, videos, and pictures galore to share with their friends on social media and at school the next day; ready to make everyone jealous that they'd seen Ariana Grande. It's such a shame it had to end in the way it did.

They'll have all had plans for the rest of the week, the summer, the rest of their lives. Some will have been looking forward to a holiday, or another concert later in the year, or had plans for the upcoming bank holiday weekend.

Not even a pop concert filled with kids is safe. And the fact this coward has used the fact the arena will be filled with children to maximise the impact of this disgusting attack is even worse.

Terrorism will have been the last thing on their minds, just like it's the last thing on most people's minds as we all go about our day-to-day lives.

Those people walking along Westminster Bridge in March won't have expected a terrorist to strike, neither did the holidaymakers enjoying the sun in Tunisia in 2015.

At present, the death toll for last night's explosion stands at 22 - with 59 injured. This is, I'm sure, bound to rise as the day goes on. The news is reporting this morning that parents are still looking for their children who were inside the concert last night. Kids as young as six years old, who got split up from their parents during the stampede. How can that even be comprehended?!

What an agonising 12 hours it must have been, and continues to be, for them. I hope and pray that every child missing is safe, well and being cared for until they are reunited with their parents. I cannot imagine the pain, anguish and heartbreak they are experiencing right now.

Looking on Facebook and Twitter this morning has been heartbreaking. I've seen countless posts being shared - parents looking for missing children, children looking for missing parents - it's difficult to comprehend this is all going on just an hour and a bit down the M62.

But what social media has also shown me this morning, is that terrorism will not win. These cowardly terrorists will never squash or eradicate love. It's times like this we need to stand strong, united and show that they will never win.

I've seen people offering space in their cars to take kids home, people offering beds for the night, hotels taking in lost children to keep them safe - it's always the worst times when the best people shine.

Those who are planning to go to concerts in the coming weeks - go and enjoy yourselves. Keep going to concerts, keep going shopping, keep going to the theatre. Keep living your life, keep loving and caring, and cherish every moment. Hate will not win.

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