Manchester terror attack – message from Stephen Cowan, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council

Once again, the flags fly at half-mast over Hammersmith Town Hall after the heartbreaking news that at least 22 people have been murdered and more than 100 injured by a coward's bomb at a concert at Manchester Arena.

One of the victims was Georgina Bethany Callander, who was just 18. Georgina died, with her mum at her bedside, having been rushed to hospital. And Saffie-Rose Roussos – an eight-year-old girl – had gone to the concert with her mum and sister for what should have been a beautiful evening.

As we learn more of the people taken through this vile act I know that everyone in Hammersmith & Fulham will share the deepest sadness and want to send the clearest message of love and solidarity to those suffering the consequences of this atrocity.

The Manchester Evening News has set up a crowdfunding page to support the victims’ families. You can donate here.

In targeting the Ariana Grande concert, the individuals who planned and perpetrated these murders deliberately chose to target children and young people. They are beneath contempt.

The people of Manchester have shown why it is one of the greatest of cities. Those of all faiths and no faith have rallied: opening their homes to offer shelter; queueing to donate blood; ferrying victims home to their loved ones and more – demonstrating the solid, compassionate strength that has always defined that city's character and proving how in the darkest of times we can still witness the best of humanity.

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