Like all of us, I'm struggling to process Monday's attack. I cannot imagine what those affected are going through. The children and adults alike who had enjoyed a brilliant gig and suddenly found themselves in the midst of horror. Families of those who lost their lives, the injured still in hospital or recovering at home and their families, the brave emergency services and amazing locals who showed up with much needed offers of help. The list goes on. The pain seems endless. The situation is critical. And my thoughts and prayers are with you all.
But there has been one talisman, one beacon of hope that has provided comfort and inspiration to the world in these dark times. And that's the brilliant brand of Manchester.
This is a brand in it's most powerful sense. This is not clever branding delivered through promotional stunts and flashy marketing. This is a brand that exists because of hard work and consistently stellar achievements that have provided a legacy of inspiration for generations.
A brand so tangible and real that it has inspired heartfelt tributes that unite opposing views and stretch across the world. A brand so resilient that a crisis has not broken it, but instead brought forth a new set of values - referred to as 'defiant kindness' and based on an enduring culture and lively spirit that already existed. A brand whose icon, the worker bee, perfectly captures it's essence. A brand which has developed such a deep connection with residents, visitors and even passers-by that they have flooded social media with support, love and memories to rally and bolster those affected.
As Tony Walsh says in his poem, 'This is the place',
"in the face of a challenge, we always stand tall, Mancunians, in union, delivered it all"