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Girls’ Brigade gives hope in Manchester

Girls in Manchester crafted 125 bees to help spread hope, strength and peace in the city

Inspired by one of my work colleagues, who said she was making a few hearts for #AHEART4MCR, I got on board with members of my group, 4- to 14-year-olds, who made 125 hearts as part of the one-year anniversary of the tragic terrorist attack, as well as to mark Girls’ Brigade’s 125th anniversary.

I loved the idea as soon as I heard about it, as it encouraged the girls to reflect on the tragedy of the previous year and, through participating, offer hope to others by making hearts. As we are a Girls’ Brigade (GB) group in Greater Manchester, we felt it was important to be involved in a community initiative that united different groups in a common cause.

We had 12 girls making the hearts, which were cut out of felt, and to which were stuck smaller hearts made out of card, before being decorated with gems and buttons. In the middle of each one is the Manchester bee with the words hope, strength, and peace. I dropped the hearts with the lady from #AHEART4MCR and she put them out in the city on the 22 May, with all the others that have been made by people around the country. My colleague told me that her hearts had been placed around Manchester Arena, where the attack happened.

As a group, we discussed the bombing and the consequences it had on the wider community, and we also attended the anniversary in the city centre this year, where the girls had the opportunity to collect hearts left by other people. The girls also had the chance to see tributes left by others in St Anne’s Square and leave their own tributes by way of chalk messages on the pavement.

To mark its 125th birthday this year, (GB) has launched a project called #WeAreGB125, and GB groups are being set three challenges to give hope, build hope, and celebrate hope. This exercise fitted in perfectly with our anniversary messages of hope. We discussed at length the act of giving hope to the people of Manchester by making 125 hearts to hand out in the city centre. Hope, strength and peace are now symbolic of the Manchester bee and the unity that was evident in the aftermath of last year’s terror attack. These words we believe link exactly with the GB campaign.

It was significant that the message on the hearts incorporated hope, strength and peace, enabling us to link the heart-making to the Bible. We spoke about the hope we have in God, our Father, and the strength we can have through faith, and the peace that comes from following Jesus.

Donna Curtis-Robbins is a leader at the 6th Manchester Girls’ Brigade group based at Brownley Green Baptist Church in Wythenshawe. 

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