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A glimmer of light in a dark place – a blog by Philip King FCICM

24 May 2017

My family frequently remind me, with more than a little amusement, of the concerts I attended with my daughter, Katy, and friends as she was growing up. Craig David and Peter Andre number amongst them and I’m the butt of many jokes as a result.

The atrocity on Monday this week at the Manchester arena took me back to those memories of standing amongst thousands of screaming girls as their idol sang on stage and I wished I was anywhere but there. I have been that Dad at a concert with a daughter and friends; I have been that Dad waiting in the foyer to meet them as the auditorium exited.

I cannot imagine how I would have coped with the situation that faced so many on Monday night. The sheer panic of not knowing where they were, or if they were safe, is unimaginable. Still trying to locate them hours after the attack is horrific. My heart goes out to the youngsters, friends, and parents who will never forget the experience and, rightly, the country is united in its outrage and outpouring of grief.

Fred Rogers has been quoted as saying: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.” and nowhere was that more true than in Manchester on Monday. Stories of people opening their homes, delivering food and drink to the emergency services, driving miles to give people lifts, queueing at blood donor centres. Sadly, it often takes a horrible event like this to bring out the best in people.

The aftermath of this latest attack will live on forever as people come to terms with what will never be the same again for a whole variety of reasons. I’ve had a salutary reminder of how selfish I can be, and I’m determined to find a way to help someone I meet today, however trivial it might be. As I’m reminded that we never know what lies ahead, I’m also reminded that, if I can brighten someone’s life then I should. Indeed I must.

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