After the events over the last few days I think it would be somewhat heartless to carry on talking about myself when there’s so many people suffering in Manchester and across the world in the wake of the terrorist attack on the 22nd May. 

This is my city, the place I’ve brought my children up, the place I’ve lived for the last 8 and a half years, the birthplace of half my kids… Manchester is in my heart. It’s my home more than anywhere else. It’s in our blood. 

I never felt like I belonged anywhere until I moved here. The pace of life is faster than Romney Marsh where I grew up but still ultimately ambling. People bimble along, usually with a smile and always with an “alright”. You can go drinking here alone and by the end of the night you’ve a whole armful of new friends and numbers. Being different is welcomed, being ordinary is too. 

It’s not a crime to be anything in Manchester because you are always something. And that’s the thing. This is a city of dreams. You can get stuck, you can go down, you can be in a deeper hole than you ever imagined. But there will always be a way out, someone, something, somewhere. Waiting in the future, maybe you can’t see it but it’s there. It’s hope. And more than anything, what has happened over the last few days has shown the world that Manchester embodies that one word. As well as diversity and solidarity and togetherness, above all else. Hope. No matter what. Because we do things differently here.