Jason Manford unveils Manchester Attack memorial in Royton Park
Tuesday 26th September 2017 @ 11:58 by Lee Wild
News Oldham

Jason Manford unveiled two memorial benches in Royton Park on Sunday to commemorate the lives of Lisa Lees and Alison Howe, two mothers from Oldham who died in the Manchester Arena attack.

Over 2000 people attended the event including the families of the victims who stood beside Manford as he cut the ribbons.

The X Factor’s Christian Burrows then headlined the concert in which Jason Manford sang two songs from his album as well as a duet with the event’s organiser Keeley Berry.

Pic: Nigel Wood

Keeley contacted Jason Manford through Twitter to ask if he would make an appearance at the event and he was more than happy to help.

She told The Oldham Reporter: “We sang ‘Baby it’s cold outside’ and it was his idea because he knew that I’m a pub singer by trade.

“Originally he was just cutting the ribbon for the benches but he said ‘I’ll do a few songs off my album if you like?’ and I was like ‘yeah, do you fancy doing a duet’?

“It was amazing, definitely a highlight for me.”

Keeley put the fundraising page together in June, raised the money within weeks and set up the event shortly after.

Despite the funding being secured and the event being free entry, they managed to raise more than £2,000 for the families of the victims.

Alison, 45, and Lisa, 43, were killed in the Manchester attack while they waited for their daughters at the concert.

Pic: Nigel Wood

Their funerals were held at St Anne’s Church in Oldham and hundreds of people lined the streets to show support for the families.

Jason led a minute’s applause before the concert and gave a speech in which he said: “Like Manchester always does we showed what kind of city we are; community centred.

“Wherever you are from in the world, you are a Mancunian and that has always been the way.

“The idea was to break us up, break up families, break up communities, but events like this are massive for the community.

“We will always come together as families and as a city and they will never, ever break that.”

People have been asking Keeley to make this an annual event, something she said she is more than happy to organise.

The concert was DJ’d by Revolution 96.2’s Dave Sweetmore and included performances by Johnny Harper, Danielle Jones, Sean Duffy, Adele Taylor, Deadlights, Joey Matthews, Hayley Jane, North Star’s Amateur Dramatics, Amy Mackie Dance School, and Jayne Barnes Dance.

By Matt Nicholls 

Pic: Nigel Wood