Over 300,000 bouquets of flowers and almost 2,000 teddy bears were placed in Manchester Town Center in tribute to the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing, which killed 22 people and injured over 500.
St Ann’s Square became adorned with thousands of personalised tributes to the victims. Teddy bears were chosen due to the fact that many of those affected by the attacks were children.
The Manchester City website has now posted details of an initiative which will see the refurbished bears going to good homes.
“After being left on the square as long as was possible out of respect to all those affected by the bomb, the sea of teddies, flowers, and other tributes were carefully removed from the square by a volunteer workforce of more than a hundred – made up of staff from a number of different businesses and organisations from across the city.
In a painstaking operation that lasted nearly five hours the volunteers worked their way through the sea of tributes, separating out them out into different categories.”
Local shoemakers Timpsons offered to use their premises to dry out the bears (which had been exposed to the elements over the course of a few weeks) and they were assisted by a legion of volunteers from the Women’s Institute (WI). The WI members saw to the stitching, sewing and repair of the bears to ensure that they were left sanitary, safe and snuggly; all set for their new owners.
“As an organisation we really wanted to do anything we could to help after the bomb and were honoured to be asked to help with the bears. It was very moving for all of us, knowing the bears’ history and why they had been left on the square, and then wanting to do our own bit to clean them and give them a future – to restore them back to being bears of happiness again for another child instead of sadness.” said Judith Suckling, Vice President, Old Trafford Wonder Women WI.