Family and friends join hotel staff in emotional tribute to Manchester bomb attack victims

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The sky above a North-East hotel turned pink and blue as hundreds of balloons were released in tribute to South Shields couple Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry.

Heartbroken family and friends stood side by side with staff from the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead hotel where Chloe, 17, and Liam 19, worked.

Balloon release at Hilton Newcastle in memory of Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford.

Balloon release at Hilton Newcastle in memory of Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford.

The much-loved couple were among the 22 tragically killed when a suicide bomber struck at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on May 22.

Their deaths touched the hearts of the people of South Tyneside, with many travelling to the hotel in Bottle Bank on Saturday to join management and staff as they paid tribute to their colleagues.

Martin Robinson, general manager of the Hilton Hotel, said: “We have all here to remember Liam and Chloe - two exceptional young people who had their whole life ahead of them.

“But due to those tragic events are now together as they wanted to be, forever.

There were two exceptional young people.

Martin Robinson

“However, from sadness comes reflection, acceptance and remembrance and that’s why we are here, to celebrate their lives and to remember both their families.”

Following a short countdown balloons were released into the air. As they soared above the hotel, hugs were shared and tears were shed as Chloe and Liam were remembered by family, friends and work colleagues.

The balloon release is one of a long line of tributes that have taken place for the couple who had touched so many lives with their kindness and love of life.

Balloon releases have taken place across South Tyneside while last week people were asked to raise a glass to the pair.

Balloons are released in memory of Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford.

Balloons are released in memory of Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford.

Marsden Cricket Club, where Liam had played since the age of six, held their own tribute opting for a period of rapturous applause, instead of a minute’s silence, in honour of the couple, before balloons were then released.

Books of condolences have also been opened where people can pay their own lasting tribute to Chloe and Liam.

Graeme Brett, owner of Westoe Travel where Chloe also worked said: “It’s lovely what the Hilton have done and to see so many people who have travelled from all over to be here - it’s so nice.

“It still hasn’t sunk in what has happened, you know it has, but it doesn’t seem real.

Balloon release at Hilton Newcastle in memory of Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford.

Balloon release at Hilton Newcastle in memory of Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford.

“They were such a beautiful couple.”

Balloon release at Hilton Newcastle in memory of Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford.

Balloon release at Hilton Newcastle in memory of Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford.