A colony of honey bees has set up home in one of Manchester’s Trees of Hope.
In a poignant symbol following the anniversary of the Arena bombing, a swarm has descended on one of the trees close to the National Football Museum.
To protect the bees, and the public, the maple has had to be cordoned off by the council.
A trail of 28 Japanese maple trees was planted across the city in tribute to the victims of the Manchester Arena atrocity and dozens of moving notes of remembrance written by the public were attached to them to mark last week’s anniversary.
The worker bee became a symbol of unity and defiance in the wake of the May 22 attack last year, and has come to represent Manchester’s indomitable spirit.
“It’s brilliantly poignant,” said one passer-by who witnessed the swarm descend on the tree.
“The whole tree was just infested with bees and it had to be sealed off. “I don’t know whether a nest has been set up within the tree, or it’s a swarm following a queen and could leave, but it’s a lovely symbol.”
To safeguard the bees, and protect the public, council workers have set up a cordon around the tree with a sign placed nearby saying: “Caution bees. Do not enter.”
The Trees of Hope trail lines a route from Manchester Victoria railway station to St Ann’s Square. The council said the trees were intended to give people who want to share messages of tribute, solidarity and love a focal point ahead of the anniversary.
In a special touch, some of the trees have been nurtured with compost made from the floral tributes which were left by the public last year.
The trail, which runs until Sunday, is being overseen by volunteers, who are giving out tags for people to write messages on.
At the end of the event, every single message will be preserved and kept – alongside tributes left last year – in an archive of the city’s response to the attack.
The trees themselves will remain in the city centre.