When Prince William wrote in a book of condolence on Friday that “Manchester’s strength and togetherness is an example to the world” he spoke for millions.
On Sunday evening thousands of music fans will send out their own defiant answer to the terror attack on their city, when they gather at Old Trafford cricket ground for a star studded concert in aid of its victims.
Two weeks after Salman Adebi set off a devastating bomb as families and children left pop star Ariana Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena – killing 22 and injuring dozens more – singing and dancing will be their joyous response to shrapnel and explosives.
The One Love Manchester concert, which sees Grande return to the stage alongside artists such as Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Black Eyed Peas, Pharrell Williams and Take That, is being broadcast live to an audience of millions in 50 countries around the world.
On Saturday the families of some of those injured in the attack described the event as being part of the healing process for their loved ones.
One of Grande first stops on arriving in Manchester on Friday had been the city’s Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, to meet injured fans and medical staff.
The US singer reportedly told the young patients: “I’m so proud of you. You are so strong. You are doing really well”.
Adam Harrison, whose eight-year-old daughter Lilly was visited by Grande in hospital, where she is recovering from shrapnel wounds and a bruised lung, said: “To see her face last night, to see her face tomorrow will be two things where I think we are coming full circle again, so we are really looking forward to it.”
Mr Harrison, from Stockport, told how Lily was blown to the floor in the explosion, receiving a wound to her back, but he is hoping she will be well enough to attend this evening.
He said: “As I saw her on the floor I just picked her up like a rugby ball and made a run for it. Lily went unconscious when we got her into the car park and she was almost like jelly.”
Mr Harrison added: “We thought we may have lost her. The wound was on her spine, so I was patting her legs and pinching her legs to see if she had a sense of feeling, and she did.”
Grande also spoke to 10-year-old Jaden Farrell-Mann, who suffered shrapnel wounds and fractures to both her legs.
Jaden’s father Peter Mann wrote on Facebook: “So happy she came I could burst! Never seen Jaden so happy! Even cried again myself.”
Grande later met with relatives of those who died in the attack, at an undisclosed location, including the mother of Martyn Hett, 29, from Stockport, and the family of 19-year-old Courtney Boyle.
Martyn’s brother Dan tweeted a photo of his family with the 23-year-old star.
The Duke of Cambridge had visited Manchester earlier in the day, meeting police officers and volunteers before paying a visit to Manchester Royal Infirmary to meet some of the injured and signing the book of condolence for Adebi’s victims.
Money raised by the One Love Manchester concert will go directly to the We Love Manchester Emergency fund, set up by Manchester City Council and the British Red Cross.
The We Love Manchester Emergency Fund had reached £7.2 million by Saturday afternoon. A donation equivalent to the VAT raised by ticket sales will also be made by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Those caught up in the bombing were promised free tickets, though last night several were still struggling to get theirs, and touts have been accused of trying to exploit the attack by charging vastly inflated prices.
Security will be tight, with police throwing a ring of steel around the venue and searching everyone who enters.
The event is expected to be an intensely emotional affair for both artists and audience.
The Black Eyed Peas said: “One world, one love. Honored to join Ariana Grande in honoring the victims and their families in Manchester.” Cyrus added: “Can’t wait to be in Manchester! Honoured to be a part of the Love fest.”
Robbie Williams, one of the superstars on the bill and whose early days with Take That were rooted in Manchester’s club scene, broke down as he spoke of the attack while performing at the city’s Etihad Stadium on Friday night.
The singer dedicated his song Angels to those who were killed in the attack, but became overwhelmed during the performance, handing over to his fans instead.
During the show Williams asked fans to join him by singing his song Strong, for which he had changed the lyrics to “Manchester we’re strong, we’re strong, we’re strong”.
At the start of the concert, he declared in typical style: “We are Manchester and we’re not f—— scared.”
For many people the spirit of Sunday’s event is summed up by the parents of one Grande fan killed a fortnight ago.
The family of Olivia Campbell, 15, from Bury, are planning to set up a trust for aspiring young performers in her name as a tribute to the “cheeky” and “loveable” music-mad teenager Adebi took from them.
In a statement her father Andrew and the family, said: “The ones suffering most are the young people in our family. Their world has changed forever. Suddenly it is not so full of joy and possibility.
“With our love and care they will heal, so please don’t hate in Olivia’s name, we choose to love.”
This article can be found on TELEGRAPH.CO.UK