ALL CHURCHES in Saddleworth are opening their doors to the public today following a suicide bombing in Manchester.
At least 22 people have been killed and 59 injured in the attack at a crowded pop concert at the Manchester Arena on Monday, May 22.
Today, churches in Saddleworth are open so people can light a candle or have some time for peaceful reflection after the incident.
Oldham Parish Church is also open to offer a space for support and reflection.
Following the tragic events, Oldham Council Leader Jean Stretton said: “Last night’s events at the Manchester Arena are utterly devastating.
“I know you will agree when I say that our hearts go out to everyone affected by this attack.
“Here in Oldham we stand together today with the Greater Manchester community.
“To target and terrorise innocent people in this way shows a disregard for life and our communities that is abhorrent and appalling.
“Greater Manchester is a resilient place and we are drawing strength and inspiration from each other in how we respond to this attack.
“There has already been some incredible work done by all of Greater Manchester’s ‘blue light’ services and partners and I wish to thank them all.
“There have also been some heart-warming stories that show the true spirit of our people – with strangers offering rooms for those stranded overnight, taxi firms giving free rides home to safety, and countless other offers of help.
“There are likely to be some difficult days and weeks to come and it is vital that our communities, residents, partners and blue light services continue working together.
“Today we stand united in our grief, but also in our determination to emerge from this an even stronger and more confident place.”
Debbie Abrahams, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Oldham East and Saddleworth, said: “This is a shocking event and my thoughts are with all those affected by it.
“Once again our amazing emergency services and NHS staff are at the forefront of helping people in the aftermath of the explosion.
“I’m sure there will be people from Oldham affected by this and my office is open for anyone who needs help or support.”
Oldham Council has opened Books of Condolence in memory of all those tragically killed and injured in the terror attack.
A Book of Condolence is now open at Royton Town Hall on Rochdale Road and another is based at the Civic Entrance (formerly Rochdale Road reception) at the Civic Centre on West Street in Oldham Town Centre.
Members of the public are invited to show their solidarity by recording their tributes and thoughts in the days ahead.
The book at Oldham Civic Centre is available for signing on weekdays (only) between 7am and 5pm. Royton Town Hall is currently open on weekdays (only) from 9am to 5pm. These hours could be extended dependent on public demand.
An online Book of Condolence for the borough will also be launched later today on the Oldham Council website at www.oldham.gov.uk
The emergency number for those searching for anybody stranded or untraceable in the aftermath is: 0800 096 0095.
Police investigating the attack are appealing to anyone who was in Manchester city centre between 8pm and 11pm and has dash-cam footage to send it as a matter of urgency to https://ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk/