This is the place: Manchester vigil poem to be turned into book for charity

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The poem recited by Tony Walsh at the vigil on the day after the Arena bombing is to be turned into a book to raise funds for charity.

The poem, This is the Place, expressed the thoughts of the city and moved the thousands assembled in Albert Square and the millions who watched later at home on television and online.

Now Manchester’s creative community wants to turn those words into something that people can cherish and keep. A group of creatives are going to put a book together taking its title from Tony’s poem.

Each agency, designer, illustrator or photographer will take a line from the poem and respond creatively to design a page in the book, with proceeds going to charity.

Contributors will include a wide range of Mancunian talent from world famous designers Peter Saville and Malcolm Garret, and established agencies in the city to independent artists, photographers and illustrators.

The book will include forewords by Tony Walsh and Andy Burnham.

“I don’t think there was anyone that wasn’t moved by Tony’s eloquent and cathartic words on Tuesday evening,” Mr Burnham said. “Just when we needed a voice of defiance and someone to articulate a sense of Manc pride and self-belief Tony stepped forward.  To show all of our thanks to him I am pleased that the city’s creatives approached me with this idea, I was really impressed. It’s fitting that the creative community in Manchester should rally so quickly and with such a perfect timing. It’s a wonderful tribute idea and I can’t wait to help them get this book out.”

The group hopes to raise money from the book for those worst affected by the bomb and to help fund brighter futures for young people and the homeless community of Manchester. They say the book will be a design piece to own and a symbol of unity and beauty to keep.

James Torry from Doodledo Motion who is leading the initiative said: “The idea came after hearing Tony’s poem. It was powerful. It gave a city that was struggling to know what or how to feel some language to articulate it. It gave us permission to feel sadness, defiance, hurt, anger and perhaps most importantly, humour. We have such a strong creative community in the city and I saw this as a way for us to come together, collaborate and make something for Manchester that was hopeful for the future.”

Tony Walsh is delighted to have been asked to contribute and write the book’s foreword.

“I wrote This is the Place four years ago for Forever Manchester, a charity that’s very close to my heart. However, when I was asked to perform it for the vigil, I realised the words had taken on a new depth and poignancy.

“After such a devastating and tragic event, I hope that this poem now acts as a symbol of pride, passion and defiance of Manchester’s people and as a beacon of hope for the future. When the guys approached me to make the book I had no hesitation. It’s a great idea, excellent stuff, done for the right reasons. Choose love.”

To register for pre-orders of the book, click here.

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