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Look for the helpers


This week our hearts went out to the family, friends and victims of the Manchester terror attack on the 22nd May. 22 people – teenagers, children and parents who had gone out for what should have been one of the most memorable evenings of their lives were killed in a callous and cowardly act by a suicide bomber. Scores of others were hurt, some with life threatening injuries.

As the story of the heartbreaking horror unfolded we were reminded that where a small number of evil twisted people had perpetrated this heinous act, many many good people stepped up to help.

We recalled the words of Fred Rogers, an American TV personality – creator of an educational preschool television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 to 2001.

My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realising that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”

We first heard these words exactly two months before as we watched with disbelief the aftermath of the atrocities on Westminster Bridge. In London, and in Manchester this week, there were never  more apt and and wise words spoken. We took Mr Rogers’ advice, Kudofeed looked for the helpers. And we found and shared many tales of courage and kindness.

Stories such as the homeless men, Stephen Jones and Chris Parker begging that night in the foyer of the Manchester Arena who ran in to help the injured and dying. The news of their compassion touched many hearts. Funding pages were set up for both men, the page for Chris Parker raising £44,395 (last time we looked) donated by 3,458 kind and generous people in just one day, while the page set up for Stephen has raised £28,365 to date.

Stephen has also been offered a home, rent free, by West Ham United FC co-chairman David Sullivan and his son.

But there were also stories of kindness from people otherwise unconnected to the bombing: taxi drivers who offered free rides to stranded victims; Sikh temples offering food and shelter to people affected by the terror attack; and countless individuals who queued to give blood in the immediate aftermath.

Mancunians took to the streets to offer spare rooms because people were not able to get back to their hotels. Other locals soon began offering spare rooms on social media, under the hashtag #RoomforManchester. Elsewhere, there were reports of cafes offering free drinks for the emergency services, and people bringing tea to the police at the cordon. And more than £1 million has been donated to help the families of the victims set up by the Manchester Evening News. Supermarket Giant Morrisons donated £250,000 to the fund.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham praised the people of Manchester, saying that their efforts showed “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, 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.”

We can tell Mr Burnham that it’s not just the people of Manchester who are proud of the profound courage and generous acts of kindness shown by the people of Manchester on that night, but the whole of Britain, and all right-minded people of the world. We are proud of the human spirit shown by people of all religions and beliefs, and glad that however many people there are in the world prepared to carry out evil acts there are legions of kind and courageous people ready to help, ready to make this world a better place.

Image Getty/Independent

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