Crawley Observer Column, Wednesday 24th May 2017

We do not yet know what has happened in Manchester, or why. All we do know is once again we are faced with a tragic loss of life, made worse by the age of those who lost their lives.

Outside the Town Hall the flag will fly at half-mast and, in line with the agreement between the major parties nationally, Crawley Labour has suspended all campaigning.

Our thoughts are with those who have lost their lives and those who have been injured, not only physically. We think also of the families whose loved ones will not return to them and the communities who have suffered greatly.

It is at times like these that we are required to pull together as a nation, the things which all-too-often divide us become insignificant in the face of such horror. As we try to make sense of what has happened there will be many who seek to use it as a chance to push for one set of beliefs or another as to why this has happened and what must be done, forgetting the human face of the tragedy in the rush to validate their world view.

We should not rush to judgement and hatred. We should not allow those who work to divide us to succeed. Now is the time to mourn, to remember that we are a single community and that we have all suffered a loss. No matter how dark the night, the light always returns.

There are those working now to help and to heal, to protect and to serve, in our Police and National Health Services. We should remember that those emergency workers who rushed to the Manchester Arena did not know what they were heading into or what awaited them when they arrived. In the face of all crises there are always those who will head into the danger to undo whatever evil has been done and we should take comfort from that.

Solidarity has been shown across the length and breadth of the UK, and from our friends abroad, no matter what happens next we stand united.

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