People from all walks of life across Sussex have united in their support for Manchester and the many affected by the shocking events last night.
Flags have flown at half mast and a minute’s silence has been observed in towns across the county.
Political campaigning has been suspended in respect of the 22 people who were killed and 59 injured during the devastating attack at Manchester Arena.
The Bishop of Chichester, whose diocese covers the whole of Sussex, summed up the county’s feelings: “The attack on Manchester Arena is as cowardly as it is evil.
“This morning our thoughts and prayers are for those killed and injured, their families and friends.
Bishop Martin added: “In contrast to the destructive loathing of the perpetrators of this atrocity we also recognise the heroic generosity in the response of the emergency services and many others.”
As police in Manchester worked tirelessly along with other emgency servicdes, Sussex Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry said: “As details continue to emerge about what happened we offer our heartfelt sympathies to the victims, some of whom we now know to be children, and their families.
“Our thoughts are also with the community of Manchester and those affected across the region, and our emergency services colleagues who are undoubtedly working tirelessly to investigate what happened and to help all those affected by this tragic event.”
He added: “There is no current evidence of any specific threat to community safety in Sussex and Surrey and policing across the county continues to operate as usual.”
“This is a time for us all to work closely together and unite against those who seek, through violence and extremism, to intimidate or cause fear.”
West Sussex and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Services also added their support for their colleagues, tweeting messages such as “Our thoughts go out to all those in Manchester who have been affected by last night’s incident and those responding.”
Politicians across Sussex have united in expressing their horror at last night’s incident and planned campaigning has been suspended for the day.
Conservative Party parliamentary candidate for East Worthing and Shoreham Tim Loughton tweeted: “Targeting families and children in Manchester is sickening & depraved and can only make our society more united. It is the defiance and humanity of local people rushing to help that will be remembered long after the terrorists have been defeated.”
Henry Smith, Conservative Candidate for Crawley said: “As the parent of a teenage daughter I can only imagine the horror of those affected by last night’s Manchester attack. My prayers with them.”
The leaders of the three political groups on Brighton & Hove City Council in a joint statement said: “We are shocked and appalled by the terrorist attack in Manchester last night. That any person or organisation can target innocent young people at a pop concert is unfathomable. This act is intended to frighten and divide us, but we will not be cowed and we stand together strong; united in compassion with people from all faiths and backgrounds.”
Labour candidate for Hove Peter Kyle said: “Manchester is grieving and the heart of Brighton & Hove is filled with thoughts of the families for whom life will never be the same again.”
Caroline Lucas, The Green Party candidate for Brighton Pavilion: “Heartbreaking news from Manchester. Our thoughts with those affected and thanks as ever to emergency services.”
A minute’s silence was held at the start of East Sussex County Council’s meeting this morning.
Peter Chowney, Labour candidate for Hastings and Rye, commented: “The appalling events in Manchester last night are heart breaking. My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives or been injured. This senseless and brutal attack has no place in a civilised world.”
Arun councillor Gillian Brown said: “The terrorist attack in Manchester last night is deplorable. On behalf of residents and councillors of Arun District we would like to extend our deepest sympathy to all those affected by this atrocity, in particular the loved ones of those that have died.
“We urge people to come together and stand united against an act that was intended to terrorize and destroy.”
Angmering School, near Worthing, postponed a planned Youth Matters General Election debate that was planned for tomorrow (Wednesday May 24).