Two years to the day since Jane Tweddle was stolen from her family by an act of terrorism, they unveiled a permanent memorial to her in the beautiful surroundings of Blackpool’s Stanley Park.
The 51-year-old, who was a receptionist at South Shore Academy, was one of 22 people murdered by suicide bomber Salman Abedi on the night of pop star Ariana Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena on Monday, May 22, 2017.
Shortly afterwards, as the world continued to feel the shockwaves of such a violent act, her devastated daughters said their mum “never gave up on smiling and being happy”.
And yesterday morning, at a private ceremony in a quiet corner of Stanley Park, they gathered to reflect poignantly on the second anniversary of the atrocity.
Harriet, Lily, and Isabelle said: “To finally have something so special for mum and to have it at Stanley Park, where she spent a lot of time with her friends at the bandstand and taking our dog Marley on walks, means the world. The one thing that everyone seems to think of when they think of mum is lilies, so it just seemed like the perfect design.”
The stone statue, designed in partnership with the council, is inscribed with the words, ‘We love you to the moon and miss you beyond the stars’.
It can be visited in the memorial garden off Cocker Walk – the path between the clock tower and the Italian Gardens with the water fountain.
Coun Graham Cain, the deputy leader at Blackpool Council, said: “The whole town was horrified by the events in Manchester two years ago, and even more so once we heard a local resident had lost their life. Stanley Park is a special place for so many people, and I am glad that we have been able to create this statue and locate it in a quiet place where Jane’s friends, colleagues, and family can come to pay their respects.”
Jane’s family is also currently decorating an ornamental Manchester bee (inset) – which became synonymous with the city’s steadfast response in rejecting hate in the months after the attack – and, once finished, it will go on display at the Solaris Centre on the Promenade in South Shore.
That was bought following a fundraising campaign by Pastels, a burger and milkshake diner in St John’s Square. Co-owner Michael Evans said last year when fundraising began: “It would be nice for Blackpool to have a bee to remember those who sadly passed away, and the money goes to a good cause.
“This would be a great piece in Blackpool to remember Jane Tweddle, who sadly passed away.”
And Jane’s family said: “For someone who didn’t even know mum and to do such a kind gesture is so heart-warming. We hope to have the bee ready to show soon.”
Jane was at the Manchester Arena to pick up a friend’s child from the concert.
Other Lancashire victims of the attack included Georgina Callander, 18, who was in her second year at Runshaw College in Leyland, near her home in Whittle-le-Woods.
Michelle Kiss, 45, a mum-of-three from Whalley, died when she went to pick up her then 12-year-old daughter Millie, who survived.
Saffie Roussos, eight, from Leyland, was the youngest to die. Her mum Lisa and her oldest sister Ashlee Bromwich were injured but survived.
Saffie’s family was reportedly offered just £11,000 in compensation by the Government.
Last June, on the third anniversary of the Sousse atrocity in Tunisia, a memorial was unveiled on the North Promenade in Blackpool for resort couple Denis and Elaine Thwaites, who were murdered.
Gunman Seifeddine Rezgui had opened fire at the five-star Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel, killing 38 tourists including 30 Britons.
Their daughter Lindsey said: “It never gets easier - you just learn to live with the loss.”