Over 80 members of our network and Manchester community representatives came together at a hugely successful Survivors Reception this autumn.
We were grateful to our speakers for their input and sharing. Paul Price, a survivor from the Manchester Arena attack touched all of our hearts with his powerful, heartfelt words about his beloved partner Elaine, some of his challenges with getting compensation but also the benefits to him personally of being part of the SAT family. Brendan Cox, one of our co-founders, gave updates on the latest work of SAT.
Tracey Paul, from our sponsor Pool Re, spoke about why they feel it’s important to support SAT and how it links to the ongoing work they do. Debbie Bartlett gave an update from her work at the Home Office’s Victims of Terrorism Unit and she touched on why the role of SAT as an independent and critical friend to Government is so vital in bringing about change.
Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham spoke about the importance of him and other politicians listening to survivors and advocating on your behalf in many different ways. He praised the progress and work of SAT over the last few years and noted how much has been achieved in a short space of time. We are grateful to Lord Mayor Yasmine Dar and her excellent team for allowing us to use such a great space to host the event in, the iconic Civic Suite in Manchester’s Central Library.
Bishop David Walker shared some reflections and a prayer. He also spoke about the importance of remembrance and why it should become a national day in the calendar to remember all those affected by terrorist attacks.
We had a minute of silence and four candles were lit:Ella and Emma were both at the Manchester Arena and lit a candle for all those there and for all other young people affected by terrorism including those who have lost a parent.
The second candle was lit by Gary and Jan Furlong, their son James was killed in Forbury Gardens, Reading in 2020. We remembered James and his two friends who were killed but also all others affected by terrorist attacks in the UK in recent times and in the past.
Cheryl Stollery’s husband John was killed in Sousse, Tunisia. Cheryl has campaigned long and hard to ensure the rights and needs of victims of terrorist attacks abroad are taken into account and properly acknowledged. Through the lighting of this candle we remembered every attack that has happened abroad affecting UK families.
The last candle was lit by Julie Siddiqi and Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen who have both done interfaith work in Manchester and around the UK for many years. This candle was to remember all those killed on October 7th in Israel and all those affected by the terrible situation in the region since then.
We enjoyed delicious food prepared lovingly for us by Cafe Inspire, a social enterprise in Levenshulme.
The best part of the event was the opportunity for our survivors to meet old and new friends and speak to our partner organisations who were also in the room including Victim Support, the Peace Foundation and National Emergencies Trust. Thank you to them for their ongoing work.