Manchester attack: The community that rushed to help

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Media caption,

A taxi firm asked drivers to help reunite families by carrying passengers for free

Stories of acts of kindness are emerging in the wake of the Manchester attack, with many people from the community rushing to help - offering free lifts home and rooms for the night.

As hundreds of people fled Manchester Arena following the explosion, taxi drivers began taking people to safety.

Driver AJ Singh said he tried to help wherever he could.

"I've had people who needed to find loved ones. I've dropped them off to the hospital. They've not had any money, they've been stranded," he told Channel 4 News.

Image caption,
Manchester taxi driver AJ Singh: "Manchester we're glue and we stick together when it counts"

"We should come out and show whoever's done this that it doesn't matter because Manchester, we're glue and we stick together when it counts."

Sam Arshad, from StreetCars Manchester asked his drivers to give free rides to anyone stranded after the Ariana Grande concert.

"The audience was a very young audience, and there were a lot of people there without their parents," he told the BBC.

"And it's then that people were requesting taxis but they didn't have money.

"It was at that point that I made the decision that money isn't everything in life and we're part of Manchester and we need to do our part to make sure these people get home safe and sound."

Image source, Twitter

Colin Paterson, the BBC's entertainment correspondent, was standing outside as the audience were running out of the arena.

"As I was standing there a taxi just pulled over a said 'would you like a lift? I'll take you anywhere'," he said.

"There are stories of cab drivers driving over from Liverpool to try and offer people free lifts back to Liverpool.

"There were stories of people coming on to the streets of Manchester to offer their spare rooms because people were not able to get back to their hotels."

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, whose two daughters and two nieces were at the concert, praised the "spontaneous acts of ordinary people" of Manchester following last night's attack at a concert in the city.

Media caption,

People in Manchester rushed to help others after the attack

"The spirit that they have displayed is just typical of people in this part of the world," he said.

"A taxi driver from Kirkby fought his way through horrendous traffic and got out of his cab to find my daughters and two nieces. I am forever grateful to that person.

"While I've got huge relief this morning my girls are safe, there will be parents waking up without children and unfortunately children waking up without parents this morning because of this horrendous act."

Praise for these acts of kindness poured in on social media, along with offers of help.

As news of the attack spread, locals soon began offering spare rooms on social media, under the hashtag #RoomforManchester.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham tweeted: "If you are stranded in the area you can also follow #RoomForManchester where hotels and local people of our great city are offering refuge."

Image source, Twitter
Image source, Twitter

Thousands of people have also turned to social media to find missing relatives and friends - and there are many people who are offering support.

Olivia Campbell Hardy has been missing since last night's concert.

Her mother, Charlotte Campbell, speaking on Radio 4's Today programme said "she's not been found yet" but "she can't thank people enough" for having helped her since her appeal on social media.

'True spirit'

Elsewhere, there are reports of cafes offering free drinks for the emergency services, people bringing tea to the police at the cordon and others queuing up to give blood.

Image source, Twitter

Meanwhile, more than £50,000 has been raised for a fund to help support the families in the aftermath of the attack, set up only hours ago by the Manchester Evening News.

TV star James Corden shared an emotional tribute to Manchester on social media, saying: "When I think of Manchester, of the place that I know, I think of the spirit of the people there and I'm telling you, a more tight-knit group of people, you will be hard-pressed to find."

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A family from Wigan hand out food and drink to emergency services

Mr Burnham praised the efforts of the community, saying that their efforts demonstrated "the true spirit of our city in the face of such devastating tragedy".

"They responded in the best possible way with generosity, with kindness, that was I think humbling," he said.

"And I think that sends a message to the whole world about what kind of people we are here.

"In this darkest hour - every single person in greater Manchester will be proud that people responded in that particular way and I'd like to thank them for doing that."

Local councillor Bev Craig said: "Mancunians opening their homes to those stranded, and businesses offering free rides. This is the Manchester I love."

Image caption,
People queued to give blood in Manchester in the wake of the attack