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Manchester’s Creative Community To Turn Vigil Poem Into Book

Manchester’s creative community wants to turn Mancunian poet Tony Walsh's moving words into something that people can cherish and keep.

Twenty-two music loving concert goers went to a gig in Manchester but never returned. It was an act of terror. Manchester responded. With love, with courage, with light and hope the city shone more brightly than ever before in the days that followed.

A vigil was held in Albert Square the next day in which Mancunian poet Tony Walsh read a poem; ‘This is the Place’ to a gathered crowd held in raptures. It gave words to the thoughts of the city and moved the thousands that assembled to hear it and the millions that watched later at home on television or online.

Now Manchester’s creative community wants to turn those moving words into something that people can cherish and keep. A group of creatives from the city, led by James Torry from Doodledo Motion have formed a working party to put a book together taking its title from Tony's poem. Each agency, designer, illustrator or photographer will take a line from the poem and respond creatively to design a page in the book with proceeds going to charity. Contributors include a breadth of Mancunian talent from world famous designers Peter Saville and Malcolm Garret, and established agencies in the city to independent artists, photographers and illustrators. The book will also include forewords from Tony Walsh and Andy Burnham.
Partnering with Forever Manchester, MEN’s fundraising initiative and the Greater Manchester Mayor's Homelessness Fund, the group hopes to raise money from the book for those worst affected by the darkness of that day and to help fund brighter futures for young people and the homeless community of Manchester. The organisers say the book will be design piece to own, but also a symbol of unity and beauty to keep.
James Torry who is leading the initiative on behalf of the city’s creatives said, “"The idea came after hearing Tony's poem. It was powerful. It gave a city that was struggling to know what or how to feel some language to articulate it. It gave us permission to feel sadness, defiance, hurt, anger and perhaps most importantly, humour. We have such a strong creative community in the city and I saw this as a way for us to come together, collaborate and make something for Manchester that was hopeful for the future."

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester said, “I don’t think there was anyone that wasn’t moved by Tony’s eloquent and cathartic words on Tuesday evening. Just when we needed a voice of defiance and someone to articulate a sense of Manc pride and self-belief Tony stepped forward.  To show all of our thanks to him I am pleased that the city’s creatives approached me with this idea, I was really impressed. It’s fitting that the creative community in Manchester should rally so quickly and with such a perfect timing. It’s a wonderful tribute idea and I can’t wait to help them get this book out.”
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, “Manchester is a proud, strong city and we always support one-another in a time of crisis. I’m in favour of anything that brings our communities together. The fact that this book will also raise funds for those most affected means I wholeheartedly support it.”
Tony Walsh was delighted to be asked to contribute and write the book’s foreword. He said, ‘’I wrote This is the Place four years ago for Forever Manchester, a charity that’s very close to my heart. However, when I was asked to perform it for the vigil, I realised the words had taken on a new depth and poignancy. After such a devastating and tragic event, I hope that this poem now acts as a symbol of pride, passion and defiance of Manchester's people and as a beacon of hope for the future. When the guys approached me to make the book I had no hesitation. It's a great idea, excellent stuff, done for the right reasons. Choose love.”

To register for pre-orders of the book, visit

Article Published: 13/12/2018 21:35 PM