After a day of commemoration, the city turned to music to mark the occasion, listening to around 2,800 singers from local choirs at the Manchester Together – With One Voice event.
They included the Manchester Survivors Choir, made up of people who were at the arena on the night of the fateful concert last May 22, and Parrs Wood High School’s Harmony Group, whose post-attack tribute went viral last year.
They sang Rise Up by Andra Day before they held aloft 22 candles.
Poet Tony Walsh, who last May read his poem This Is The Place, returned to Albert Square and encouraged the crowd to make a minute’s noise for all those affected by the blast, including the injured, the first responders and NHS staff involved in the care of those affected.
As the crowd responded, Walsh shouted: “This is what love sounds like. You can’t stop the sound of love.”
The finale was a mass 30-minute communal singalong including Don’t Look Back In Anger by Oasis, One Day Like This by Elbow, Ariana Grande’s One Last Time, Never Forget by Take That and The Beatles’ All You Need Is Love.
At 10.31pm, bells rang out from the city’s Town Hall, St Ann’s Church and St Mary’s RC Church to mark the moment when the attack took place 12 months ago.
When the last bell rang the crowd broke into applause and cheers, with some hugging each other in tears.
Similar to last May, candles were lit in the square around floral tributes and balloons.
Earlier Manchester came together in an emotional day of remembrance, with 800 people attending an afternoon commemoration service at Manchester Cathedral while a one-minute silence – observed nationwide – was held at 2.30pm.
Photographs of those who died in the bombing were displayed on screens in the cathedral shortly before the silence and 22 lit candles on the altar represented each one of the victims, which were made using wax from the thousands of candles left in St Ann’s Square in their memory last May.
Among the dignitaries present were the Duke of Cambridge, Prime Minister Theresa May, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable, Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester City Council.
Prince William and the Prime Minister privately met bereaved families at the cathedral following the service and both attached notes to one of the Trees of Hope, a trail of small Japanese maple trees from Victoria Station to St Ann’s Square, to add to the many thousands of similar messages of support and hope left by members of the public.