What was the poem at the Manchester vigil? Everything to know about Tony Walsh’s ‘This Is The Place’

The heart and soul of the city was truly felt as thousands gathered for the vigil to pay their respects to those who died in the attack at Manchester Arena.

There were people as far as the eye could see when the likes of Lord Mayor Eddy Newman and Bishop of Manchester David Walker took to the stage at Albert Square on Tuesday.

The two were also joined by poet Tony Walsh, whose words inspired many to look past hate and ‘choose love’ in the face of terrorism.

For those still reflecting on those touching words that capture the spirit of Greater Manchester, here’s everything you need to know about the poem.

Who wrote it?

The defiant poem was penned by Walsh, the same man who read it with such passion on the stage at Albert Square.

The 51-year-old also goes by the name Longfella.

What is it called?

The lyrical masterpiece is called ‘This Is The Place’.

It begins: ‘This is the place, in the north-west of England. It’s ace, it’s the best…’

When was it published?

The poem was commissioned in 2013 by the charity Forever Manchester, of which Walsh is the Poet in Residence.

On Longfella’s website, he writes: “When they asked me to write a poem to capture that spirit and promote what they do, I jumped at the chance. ‘This Is The Place’ is the end result.”

What was the reaction from the vigil?

Longfella delivered the poem with an unbridled conviction during the tribute held for those sadly killed in the bomb.

Those in attendance – and indeed those watching around the world – were touched by the display that followed the recent horror.

One listener tweeted: “Have never been so moved in my entire life. The vigil, the poem… The world watched as Manchester stood strong. #ManchesterVigil.”

While Another added: “Just heard #TonyWalsh #MachesterPoem #ThisIsThePlace in full…fabulous moving poem, made me cry #Manchester.”

See the full poem below

This is the place

In the north-west of England. It’s ace, it’s the best

And the songs that we sing from the stands, from our bands

Set the whole planet shaking.

Our inventions are legends. There’s nowt we can’t make, and so we make brilliant music

We make brilliant bands

We make goals that make souls leap from seats in the stands

And we make things from steel

And we make things from cotton

And we make people laugh, take the mick summat rotten

And we make you at home

And we make you feel welcome and we make summat happen

And we can’t seem to help it

And if you’re looking from history, then yeah we’ve a wealth

But the Manchester way is to make it yourself.

And make us a record, a new number one

And make us a brew while you’re up, love, go on

And make us feel proud that you’re winning the league

And make us sing louder and make us believe that this is the place that has helped shape the world

And this is the place where a Manchester girl named Emmeline Pankhurst from the streets of Moss Side led a suffragette city with sisterhood pride

And this is the place with appliance of science, we’re on it, atomic, we struck with defiance, and in the face of a challenge, we always stand tall, Mancunians, in union, delivered it all

Such as housing and libraries and health, education and unions and co-ops and first railway stations

So we’re sorry, bear with us, we invented commuters. But we hope you forgive us, we invented computers.

And this is the place Henry Royce strolled with rolls, and we’ve rocked and we’ve rolled with our own northern soul

And so this is the place to do business then dance, where go-getters and goal-setters know they’ve a chance

And this is the place where we first played as kids. And me mum, lived and died here, she loved it, she did.

And this is the place where our folks came to work, where they struggled in puddles, they hurt in the dirt and they built us a city, they built us these towns and they coughed on the cobbles to the deafening sound to the steaming machines and the screaming of slaves, they were scheming for greatness, they dreamed to their graves.

And they left us a spirit. They left us a vibe. That Mancunian way to survive and to thrive and to work and to build, to connect, and create and Greater Manchester’s greatness is keeping it great.

And so this is the place now with kids of our own. Some are born here, some drawn here, but they all call it home.

And they’ve covered the cobbles, but they’ll never defeat, all the dreamers and schemers who still teem through these streets.

Because this is a place that has been through some hard times: oppressions, recessions, depressions, and dark times.

But we keep fighting back with Greater Manchester spirit. Northern grit, Northern wit, and Greater Manchester’s lyrics.

And these hard times again, in these streets of our city, but we won’t take defeat and we don’t want your pity.

Because this is a place where we stand strong together, with a smile on our face, greater Manchester forever.

And we’ve got this place where a team with a dream can get funding and something to help with a scheme.

Because this is a place that understands your grand plans. We don’t do “no can do” we just stress “yes we can”

Forever Manchester’s a charity for people round here, you can fundraise, donate, you can be a volunteer. You can live local, give local, we can honestly say, we do charity different, that Mancunian way.

And we fund local kids, and we fund local teams. We support local dreamers to work for their dreams. We support local groups and the great work they do. So can you help us. help local people like you?

Because this is the place in our hearts, in our homes, because this is the place that’s a part of our bones.

Because Greater Manchester gives us such strength from the fact that this is the place, we should give something back.

Always remember, never forget, forever Manchester.

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