Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm will be DJ-ing on Greater Manchester's United We Stream fundraising platform as part of a special commemorative show to mark the third anniversary of the Manchester Arena attack.
The four-hour production on Friday 22 May starts at 8pm and will be headlined by Melanie C, best known as member of global iconic girl group The Spice Girls.
Pop star Melanie C performed at the Arena many times with her fellow Spice Girls Victoria Beckham, Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton and Melanie Brown.
She said: “I can’t wait to for my live DJ set on Friday night. I’ll be playing some uplifting pop bangers and maybe a few cheeky classics from the North West.
“It’s so important to never forget the lives lost and affected because of this awful attack, now more than ever, as we face a crisis that effects every single one of us. Hopefully I’ll be able to bring a smile to your faces and get you dancing round your living room!”
Created in April by Sacha and the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, in swift response to the UK shut down due to coronavirus, the United We Stream platform is free to watch, but with donations welcome.
The project has already raised a staggering £320,000 for the city region’s night time economy, cultural organisations and chosen local charities.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: "Greater Manchester has experienced dark times in the past and the attack on the Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017 was one of the darkest. The families and friends of all those whose lives were lost on that devastating night are always in our hearts - the 22 will never be forgotten.
"This Friday's United We Stream will be a very special and thoughtful night marking a very important anniversary. It will showcase Greater Manchester doing what we do best as a community: remembering, commemorating and being together.
Also on the line-up is former Coronation Street actress Catherine Tydesley, who will be singing with the Manchester Survivors Choir.
The Manchester Survivors choir is a group of people who were at the Arena on the night of the attack, mostly parents and children, and was formed as a way to unite and help those affected by the atrocity. Since 2018 it has more than quadrupled in size, with nearly 100 members.
They say singing together has made them stronger. Unfortunately, since the country has been staying indoors because of the pandemic they have been unable to rehearse, and were left ‘deeply saddened’ at the prospect of not being together for this year’s anniversary to remember and honour those who lost their lives in the attack.
However, the United We Stream production team, led by Director Colin McKevitt, organised for the choir to sing outdoors, in the heart of Media City, while ensuring all social distancing and infection control guidelines were strictly adhered to.
Member of Manchester Survivors Choir, Cath Hill said: “We feel honoured and excited to be asked to contribute to the wonderful United We Stream Greater Manchester project. We were anxious about how we would mark this year's anniversary and felt deeply sad that we could not be together.“With the help of everyone involved in the production of United We Stream, we can safely sing together, and remember and honour those who lost their lives. It means so much to us that on this day, we can share our message of resilience and hope in our amazing city. United, we shall sing!”
United We Stream executive producer Sacha Lord said: “Clearly I know how difficult this week is, not just for the families of the 22 lives that were lost on the 22nd May 2017, but also for the many families, NHS, police, paramedics, firefighters, first responders and many people who pulled together on the evening of one of Greater Manchester’s worst days.“I also understand the importance of coming together on this date, remembering those lives and paying tribute to those who risked their lives.
“That night at the Arena was a night of pop music with people dancing and having fun. At United We Stream we wanted to pay our respects, but can’t have the kind of anniversary gathering take place that we would have wanted.
“At a time when we are living through another period when we need the city region to come together, we felt it right to pay tribute, but also allow residents of the city-region to dance their way through it, safely in their homes.”
Due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions, people in the city-region are being encouraged not to gather together to mark the anniversary on Friday, but to mark the day remotely.
Help and advice:
If you’re struggling during this time, please remember that help and support is available.
Contact the Greater Manchester Resilience Hub:
Phone - 0333 009 5071
The hub is open Tuesday to Friday 10am to 6pm, and until 8pm on a Wednesday.