Little Mix's Jade Thirlwall sends message of empowerment and unity at One Love Manchester concert

The Manchester One Love benefit concert. Picture by Pa
The Manchester One Love benefit concert. Picture by Pa
Have your say

Little Mix sent a strong message to music fans as they took to the stage at the Manchester One Love concert tonight.

The girl band, which feature South Shields' own Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards, were on the line-up for the multi-star benefit gig, held as a tribute to and a fundraiser for those affected by the suicide bomb attack the end of Ariana Grande's performance at the Manchester Arena on May 22.

Jade Thirlwall of Little Mix, from South Shields

Jade Thirlwall of Little Mix, from South Shields

Little Mix took to the stage after Grande, with Jade Thirlwall telling fans: "We are so, so happy to be part of this incredible day, thank you."

Introducing the group's track Wings, she said: "The song we have chosen to do for you guys we wrote together a few years ago in the hope it would empower people to stand together and to not let anything bring them down."

The concert at the 50,000-capacity Old Trafford cricket ground sold out within 20 minutes when they went on general sale, though tickets had been set aside for fans at the original concert, who were promised free entry.

Among them was Georgia Thompson, 14, from South Shields, who admitted said she had been a "bit shaky" since attending the concert, almost a fortnight ago.

"We were sort of right in front of the bomb when it went off and I could feel the heat on my face," she said. "But I just really wanted to go (tonight) because I'm not missing Ariana and Little Mix."

The suicide bomb attack on the Manchester Arena on May 22 claimed the lives of two other teenagers from her hometown, Liam Curry, 19, and Chloe Rutherford, 17.

Three others from the North East were among those killed: Hartlepool born Jane Tweddle-Taylor, 51; and Philip Tron, 32, and his partner’s daughter Courtney Boyle, 19, from Gateshead.

Mumford and Sons frontman Marcus Mumford sang "you are not alone in this" as he performed an acoustic version of the band's hit Timshel to open the One Love concert.

The singer took to the stage after a one-minute silence for the 22 victims who lost their lives in the bombing at the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.

Mumford then welcomed Take That to the stage to open their set with their crowd-pleasing song Let It Shine.

Concert-goers began queueing outside Lancashire Cricket Club's Old Trafford ground from 8.30am ahead of the One Love Manchester gig.

The event saw Ariana Grande return to the stage for the first time since suicide bomb attack on her concert.

In between renditions of Giants and Rule The World, Gary Barlow told the crowd: "Thank you everybody for coming out tonight, thank you for everybody watching at home, thanks to Ariana for inviting us tonight.

"Our thoughts are with everyone that's been affected by this.

"We want to stand strong, look at the sky and sing loud and proud."

Barlow welcomed former Take That bandmate Robbie Williams to the stage as "our friend, our brother," before the foursome took a bow together and Williams led the crowd in a singalong to his hit Strong, with the lyrics changed to 'Manchester, we're strong, we're strong, we're strong, we're still singing our songs."

Williams, who appeared to be wearing a sweatshirt from Justin Bieber's Purpose world tour, then treated the audience to his anthem Angels.

Ahead of the concert Grande's fans who were caught up in the Manchester bombing have said they were nervous to return to a concert so soon after recent terror attacks but determined to carry on to show solidarity with the victims.

Proceeds from the concert will go towards the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, set up by Manchester City Council in partnership with the British Red Cross, to support grieving families and victims of the bombing.

U2 frontman Bono sent a video message to the concert, telling the crowds: "All our hearts are with you, all our hearts are with Manchester and with the UK.

"So many of our friends are in this great city.

"We're broken-hearted for parents who've lost their children and children who've lost their parents in this senseless, senseless horror.

"There is no end to grief and that's how we know there is no end to life."

Pharrell Williams then opened his performance with a rendition of Get Lucky, his hit with Daft Punk, before Miley Cyrus joined him on stage to perform Williams' hit Happy.

Before welcoming Cyrus to perform Happy, Williams said: "You know why I'm bowing, I'm bowing because despite all the things that have been going on in this place, I don't feel or hear or see any fear in this building.

"All we feel here tonight is love, resilience and positivity and you know what, I hate to be corny, but it makes me ... "

After Williams left the stage Cyrus performed her song Inspired, after telling the crowd: "Manchester I just had to take a second to look around at all of you. I'd like to wrap my arms around each and every one of you and tell you thank you from the bottom of our hearts for having us.

"I'm so honoured to be at this incredible event surrounded by all you amazing people.

"The most important responsibility we have on this entire planet is to take care of one another."

She continued: "I've always loved Manchester and not just tonight, it's always felt like a home away from home to me."

One Direction star Niall Horan performed his hit Slow Hands before dedicating song This Town to Manchester, saying: "I just want to say I've been lucky enough to travel all over the world and every time I come back to Manchester I'm addicted to this place.

"When I seen you guys all rallying together last week it was a sight to behold, it was incredible.

"We love you, we're with you."

Grande's manager Scooter Braun appeared on stage wearing a black One Love Manchester baseball cap with the pink logo for the concert on the front to introduce the singer on her return to the city less than two weeks after she said she was "broken" by the attack.

Grande came out dressed in an oversized white One Love Manchester sweatshirt, ripped jeans and high-heeled black boots accompanied by a company of dancers wearing the same sweatshirts in black.

She performed her hits Be Alright and Break Free, shouting: "Manchester make some noise!" before pink streamers rained down on the crowd.

Grande later appeared with Victoria Monet to sing their duet Better Days and then joined Black Eyed Peas to perform their hit Where Is The Love?

Grande shouted "Manchester we love you" before Black Eyed Peas' said: "Manchester, London, we are here together and we are one."

Grande then introduced Imogen Heap, who sat at the piano to sing Whatcha Say before a video message from David Beckham was played.

He said: "As a father what happened made me truly sad and it's a day we'll never forget.

"I'm proud of everyone there today, everyone in the crowd and all the artists."

Grande later joined a choir from Parrs Wood High School on stage, who sang their own version of her song, My Everything, before she welcomed her boyfriend Mac Miller on to the stage saying: "Tonight is all about love, am I right?"

The pair danced together as they performed their 2013 collaboration The Way and Miller's track Dang!

Cyrus returned to the stage in an I Love MCR T-shirt to duet with Grande on Crowded House's Don't Dream It's Over, during which they twirled each other around and embraced.

Before launching into her hit Side To Side, Grande told the crowd: "I want to thank you so much for coming tonight and being so happy and strong and unified.

"I love you guys so much.

"This night is the kind of thing the world really needs right now."

Grande said she had not planned to play so many of her big hits but changed her mind after meeting the mother of Olivia Campbell, 15, who was among the victims of the blast at her concert.

She said: "I had the pleasure of meeting Olivia's mummy a few days ago and I started to cry and gave her a big hug and she said stop crying, because Olivia wouldn't have wanted you to cry.

"And then she told me Olivia would have wanted to hear the hits. We had a different show planned and we had a rehearsal yesterday and we changed everything."

Katy Perry called love "our greatest power" as she urged people to conquer fear in the wake of the Manchester and London Bridge terror attacks.

Speaking on stage before she performed at One Love Manchester, the US pop star said: "It's not easy to always choose love is it, especially in moments like this, right?

"It can be the most difficult thing to do, but love conquers fear and love conquers hate and this love that you choose will give you strength and it's our greatest power."

Coldplay joined Grande on stage to sing Oasis's hit Don't Look Back In Anger, which has been an anthem for Manchester since the tragedy.

Lead singer Chris Martin then sang a version of James' Sit Down before moving on to Coldplay hit Fix You as the sun set over the cricket ground.

Police officers and security guards could later be seen dancing with members of the crowd as the band played Viva La Vida before Something Just Like This, their collaboration with The Chainsmokers.