With broken hearts, people stood together at South Shields Town Hall yesterday, in tribute to those who lost their lives in the Manchester terror attack.
As a two-minute silence was observed at 11am, the sadness, sympathy and togetherness generated by the horrific events which unfolded on Monday night and claimed the lives of 22 people – including South Shields teenagers Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry – was plain to see.
Liam, 19 and Chloe, 17. had travelled to see the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.
Yesterday, friends of the couple stood alongside strangers to pay their respects to the couple and to those who had lost their lives in the devastating attack.
They were joined on the steps of the town hall by councillors and council staff who had left their offices to join the two minute-silence.
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck also attended the event.
She said: “Ever since Monday’s horrific attack, we have been praying for Liam and Chloe to come home.
“We are all absolutely devastated at their loss. In South Shields we are a close-knit community. Everybody at some point would have had contact with Chloe or Liam or with members of their families, and my heart goes out to them all.”
Above the gathering a flag flew at half-mast in a mark of respect.
Sheila Cunningham, 69, was among those attending.
She was representing her daughter Julie, 49 and Eleni, 10, who knew Chloe from the Performers Stage School.
She said: “I’ve come to represent my daughter and grand-daughter as they knew Chloe very well from the Performer’s Stage School in Boldon.
“We have some happy memories of Chloe when she was performing in Cats at the Customs House and we will always remember her face from that happy day.”
Chloe was a talented singer and dancer and flowers were also laid in tribute yesterday at The Customs House in South Shields.
Members of Marsden Cricket Club also gathered outside the Town Hall to remember Liam – one of their team.
Head of Cricket Development Chris Mann, said: “I’ve known Liam since he started at the club. He just wanted to learn all the time.
“He was one of the best cricketers I have coached. He was so committed and possessed the right values to further himself not just in cricket but in life in general.”