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Disney World fans demand new theme for beloved Splash Mountain ride because most racist’ film

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disney world fans demand new theme for beloved splash mountain ride because most racist film

Fans of Walt Disney World and Disneyland want the theme of Splash Mountain changed because it relies on characters from the film ‘Song of the South’, considered one of the company’s most racist movies.  

A petition started at Change.org calls for re-theming the beloved flume ride because of its ties to the the 1946 film. While the movie isn’t mentioned on the ride, its characters Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox are featured along with the movie’s famed song, ‘Zip-a-dee-doo-dah’. 

Critics have complained about the film’s portrayal of African Americans in the post-civil war south as racist and offensive. 

The petitioners instead suggest the ride, which is also at Disneyland Tokyo, be based on Disney’s 2010 animated film ‘The Princess and the Frog, its first to feature a black princess.

Fans of Walt Disney World and Disneyland want the theme of Splash Mountain (pictured) changed because it relies on characters from the film 'Song of the South', considered among the company's most racist movies

Fans of Walt Disney World and Disneyland want the theme of Splash Mountain (pictured) changed because it relies on characters from the film 'Song of the South', considered among the company's most racist movies

Fans of Walt Disney World and Disneyland want the theme of Splash Mountain (pictured) changed because it relies on characters from the film ‘Song of the South’, considered among the company’s most racist movies

While the move isn't mentioned on the ride, its characters Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox (pictured) are featured along with the movie's famed song, ‘Zip-a-dee-doo-dah’

While the move isn't mentioned on the ride, its characters Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox (pictured) are featured along with the movie's famed song, ‘Zip-a-dee-doo-dah’

While the move isn’t mentioned on the ride, its characters Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox (pictured) are featured along with the movie’s famed song, ‘Zip-a-dee-doo-dah’

The petitioners instead suggest the ride, which is also at Disneyland Tokyo, be based on Disney's 2009 animated film 'The Princess and the Frog, its first to feature a black princess.

The petitioners instead suggest the ride, which is also at Disneyland Tokyo, be based on Disney's 2009 animated film 'The Princess and the Frog, its first to feature a black princess.

The petitioners instead suggest the ride, which is also at Disneyland Tokyo, be based on Disney’s 2009 animated film ‘The Princess and the Frog, its first to feature a black princess.

‘While the ride is considered a beloved classic it’s history and storyline are steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes from the 1946 film Song of the South,’ says the online petition started by a Change.org user named Alex O.

The petition claims ‘there is a huge need for diversity in the parks and this could help fill that need.’

Princess and the Frog is a beloved princess movie but has very little representation in the parks,’ explains the petition which has been signed by more than 3,400 people with of goal of reaching 5,000.

The Frog and the Princess tells the story of Tiana, a young black waitress in New Orleans. 

The movie is set in 1926 and is about Tiana’s dreams of owning her own restaurant. She kisses a frog, who is really a prince who had fallen victim to a voodoo spell, in hopes of making her dream come true. 

Instead Tiana is changed into a frog herself and has to find a way of becoming human again. 

By comparison, Song of the South, is based on Joel Chandler Harris’ Uncle Remus stories, and takes place during the Reconstruction Era that followed the civil war. 

Pictured is the online petition started at Change.org calling for Splash Mountain's re-theming

Pictured is the online petition started at Change.org calling for Splash Mountain's re-theming

Pictured is the online petition started at Change.org calling for Splash Mountain’s re-theming

The film stars James Baskett as Uncle Remus and won an Oscar for best original song in 1948. 

‘There are plenty of examples of pernicious racism in Song of the South’, wrote Scott Tobias in a 2019 story in The Guardian’s about the film’s legacy and how it was never released on video in the US after becoming so controversial. 

‘The minstrelsy of the animated characters, particularly Br’er Fox; the slang in the dialogue; a wandering chorus singing traditional black songs; and, most notoriously of all, a fable where Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear use a tar baby to fool and ensnare Br’er Rabbit,’ the writer explains. 

‘That part didn’t make Splash Mountain,’ he adds. 

Song of the South, is based on Joel Chandler Harris’ Uncle Remus stories, and takes place during the Reconstruction Era that followed the civil war

Song of the South, is based on Joel Chandler Harris’ Uncle Remus stories, and takes place during the Reconstruction Era that followed the civil war

Song of the South, is based on Joel Chandler Harris’ Uncle Remus stories, and takes place during the Reconstruction Era that followed the civil war

'Song of the South' stars James Baskett as Uncle Remus (pictured) and won an Oscar for best original song in 1948.

'Song of the South' stars James Baskett as Uncle Remus (pictured) and won an Oscar for best original song in 1948.

‘Song of the South’ stars James Baskett as Uncle Remus (pictured) and won an Oscar for best original song in 1948.

The animated character Br'er Rabbit is seen with Uncle Remus, played by James Baskett in a scene from 'Song of the South'.

The animated character Br'er Rabbit is seen with Uncle Remus, played by James Baskett in a scene from 'Song of the South'.

The animated character Br’er Rabbit is seen with Uncle Remus, played by James Baskett in a scene from ‘Song of the South’. 

Br’er Rabbit, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, also is based on a folklore character known to slaves brought from Africa to the US. 

As critics have denounced the movie over the years, it was not included in selections on Disney+ when the streaming service launched last year. 

A Disney spokesperson was not immediately available when DailyMail.com reached out for comment.  

Br'er Rabbit, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, also is based on a folklore character known to slaves brought from Africa to the US. The character's image is seen on a sign leading into the Splash Mountain

Br'er Rabbit, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, also is based on a folklore character known to slaves brought from Africa to the US. The character's image is seen on a sign leading into the Splash Mountain

Br’er Rabbit, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, also is based on a folklore character known to slaves brought from Africa to the US. The character’s image is seen on a sign leading into the Splash Mountain 

The online petition points out that Splash Mountain could easily be converted to ‘tell the story of Tiana while not compromising too much of the ride/costing a fortune in remodeling for Disney.’

‘This change could kill two birds with one stone,’ the petition add, ‘Remove the offensive stereotypical theming the ride currently has and bring a much needed diversity to the parks.

‘As well as a much bigger merchandising opportunity for Princess and the Frog.’

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Furious Pret founder savages Boris for ‘spouting Churchillian nonsense’

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furious pret founder savages boris for spouting churchillian nonsense

A multi-millionaire who once headed a taskforce for Prime Minister Boris Johnson today savaged him for ‘spouting Churchillian nonsense’ and his ‘criminal’ six-month work from home bid.

Pret a Manger founder and Itsu boss Julian Metcalfe – who has an estimated £215million fortune – described last night’s speech as a ‘man sitting down with his Union Jack talking utter nonsense’.

And in a further furious broadside he slated his ‘exaggerated nonsense’ before adding he feared Mr Johnson’s plans would see millions of jobs lost.

It was a far cry from nine years ago when the PM, as then Mayor of London, said he was ‘delighted’ as he appointed Mr Metcalfe as the leader of a taskforce for Croydon following riots in the area. 

Speaking today, the hospitality entrepreneur praised Chancellor Rishi Sunak for his efforts to help struggling businesses, before aiming his focus on the Prime Minister.

Mr Metcalfe said: ‘Unless we get some clarity from the government we end up having to keep many, many – I dread to think how many – people will end up being made redundant, it’s heartbreaking. 

‘It’s hundreds and thousands of hospitality businesses. The knock on effects are on the people who look after them, who service them, who bring them food, and clean them – it’s hundreds of thousands, millions of jobs.

‘What we need is the government, particularly our Prime Minister, this man sitting down with his Union Jack talking utter nonsense, that’s where we need leadership

‘What I would advise our Prime Minister to do, number one is get aligned with his team.

‘To turn to an entire nation and say stay at home for six months and to spout off some Churchillian nonsense about we’ll make it through, it’s terribly unhelpful to this country

‘This talk of six months is criminal, it should be we will review it, we are here to serve you as civil servants. We will review the information and the data each week, each hour, we will behave like responsible people.’

It came as tens of thousands of Britons vowed to battle on to save the economy today as they headed back to work after the Prime Minister’s call to avoid the office.

Some of the county’s biggest firms declared ‘nothing had changed’ following Boris Johnson‘s desk-banging performance last night.

Most had already been allowing staff to split time between home and the office and said their business needs meant it would continue. 

Mr Metcalfe added to Radio 4: ‘The repercussions on this six months is going to be devastating to so many people, to local councils, to industry, to people all over our country, devastating.

‘We have just not begun to touch the seriousness of this. How long can this continue, this vague work from home? Don’t go on public transport?

‘Meanwhile the industries that keep this country going, they’re all expected to go to work, our hospitals and everyone in them. What happens to the thousands of people who look after and maintain shopping centres, the ramifications of this are just enormous. 

‘Not, everyone stay at home for six months and we’ll see where we are because the scientists – all disagreeing with each other – have said X, Y or Z. It’s just nonsense.

‘We need leadership, we don’t need exaggerated nonsense.’

Meanwhile the City of London Corporation said the government needed to find a way to deal with coronavirus that ‘Doesn’t cripple the economy’.  

Just 18 hours after the Prime Minister’s speech: 

  • Business leaders urged Mr Johnson to think about other ways to stifle the spread of coronavirus
  • Traffic data from the UK’s biggest cities showed no change following his big speech to the country
  • Commuters on the way to the office blasted his guidance as ‘conflicting’ and ‘confusing’
  • One banker warned the mixed messaging would inflict a ‘devastating impact on the economy’
  • Catherine McGuinness, policy chair for the City of London Corporation, said it was ‘disappointed’ with the work from home suggestion and said ‘We feel that this will set back the recovery’
  • The Chief Executive of UKHospitality called the restrictions as ‘another crushing blow’ for many businesses
  • Transport eateries Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza reported a £1.3billion lockdown loss 
The Tubes were jam-packed again this morning as thousands of Britons continued to make their way into work, defying the Prime Minister's call to avoid the office

The Tubes were jam-packed again this morning as thousands of Britons continued to make their way into work, defying the Prime Minister’s call to avoid the office

Scores of passengers wearing masks make their way off an Underground train on the Jubilee Line this morning

Scores of passengers wearing masks make their way off an Underground train on the Jubilee Line this morning

The Underground was packed with commuters again this morning, despite the Prime Minister's pledge to stay at home

The Underground was packed with commuters again this morning, despite the Prime Minister’s pledge to stay at home

Furious Tory MPs have turned on 'authoritarian' Boris Johnson as he ordered the British public to obey his draconian new coronavirus restrictions – or face an economically devastating second national lockdown

Furious Tory MPs have turned on ‘authoritarian’ Boris Johnson as he ordered the British public to obey his draconian new coronavirus restrictions – or face an economically devastating second national lockdown 

Among those still in are head offices for supermarket chains, as well as high street banks who need to have personnel in their buildings.

Asda, who last month said staff could return to its Leeds HQ, said they could still attend but had told workers not to come in unless they had to.

NatWest and RBS, who had 10,000 staff back in throughout the pandemic to help customers, are still having them in their offices to help customers.

Barclays had started to bring even more people back but were revealed yesterday to have told 1,000 of them to return to a working from home set-up.

KPMG is also understood to expect a large number of its 5,000 workers to continue working from home. 

An industry source told MailOnline: ‘Most businesses have covid-secure settings and need people in offices to be able to help their customers.

‘Nothing has changed for many after the Prime Minister’s speech.’

A NatWest Group spokesperson said its priority had been looking after staff and customers.

They added: ‘Enabling the majority of our colleagues to work from home has allowed us to support our customers in a safe way. For most people, this will continue into 2021.

‘However, we have more than 10,000 colleagues working in branches and offices across the UK – as we have throughout the pandemic – to make sure our customers have access to the support and services they have need.’

Public transport also told the same story with workers packing trains as they headed to their jobs.

Executive recruitment consultant Greg Comer, 29, was heading to his office in Waterloo from his home in Greenwich this morning.

He said: ‘I saw the Prime Minister’s speech last night about working from home if you can.

Waterloo Station was at the same level of use as before the Prime Minister's announcements yesterday to the public

Waterloo Station was at the same level of use as before the Prime Minister’s announcements yesterday to the public

Waterloo station had workers milling around to head to the office during rush hour this morning

Waterloo station had workers milling around to head to the office during rush hour this morning

Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza owner SSP lose £1.3billion in lockdown

Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza owner SSP has said nearly two-thirds of its sites still remain closed as it revealed a sales hit of around £1.3 billion due to the pandemic.

The group said it has reopened around 1,100 outlets since lockdown, which decimated trading at its food and drinks sites in airports and railway stations as passengers numbers plunged.

SSP said sales are set to plummet by around 86% in its second half to September 30, with revenues down about £1.3 billion, while operating losses will be in the middle of its predicted £180 million to £250 million range.

The group recently warned that up to around 5,000 jobs are under threat – more than half of its 9,000-strong peak season workforce – as it looks to slash costs in response to the pandemic.

It had warned that only around a fifth of its sites in the UK would open by the autumn, but it has been able to reopen more sites as sales have improved slightly since full lockdown restrictions eased.

A slight improvement in passenger demand has seen weekly sales declines narrow to around 76% from 95% in its third quarter, it said.

In the UK, it said there had been a small recovery in air travel, although it was held back by ever-changing quarantine restrictions, while rail travel remained very weak with a slow recovery as workers tentatively returned to offices.

The latest restrictions brought in on Tuesday by the Prime Minister, including instructions for office staff to work from home where they can, are likely to deal another blow.

SSP cautioned that demand “may well remain subdued” over the winter months.

Simon Smith, chief executive of SSP Group, said: “We have seen some improvement in passenger demand since the start of the crisis and we have reopened units swiftly and profitably in response to this, with over one-third of our units now trading.

“Our model is flexible and we will continue to align unit openings with demand, meeting the needs of our customers whilst managing operating costs and cash flow tightly.

“In the medium term we expect to see the gradual return of passenger travel to more normalised levels.

“The actions we are taking to rebuild the business will enable us to emerge fitter and stronger.”

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‘I believe there has to be a balance struck between pushing forward economic activity and concerns over health.

‘Personally I find working in an office environment much more beneficial in terms of work rate and practicality.

‘I enjoy interacting with members of my team in person to get a bit of a buzz going.

‘The office has been open since July 16 and I’ve been in every working day since.

‘We’re working to about 25 per cent capacity, there’s about 10-12 of us In the office out of a team of 40 so we’re able to easily observe social distancing guidelines.

‘Maybe going in to the office is a risk, maybe travelling in on public transport is a risk but until we get a much more distinct set of instructions from the government, like during the first lockdown, then I think many people will continue to take those risks.’ 

At Bank underground station, workers were defiantly returning to work, claiming the Government’s guidelines were confusing and that they were far more productive working in an office rather than home.

James Jeffs, 47 director of Vir2ue Comms, a telecoms company based in the City of London said: ‘I could work from home, but you can’t create the same atmosphere as you can in the office. You can’t bounce ideas off other people and I also miss the banter.

‘The Government is sending out very mixed messages about working from home. My fear is that telling people not to come to the office again is going to have a devastating impact on the economy. Just look at the City. All the shops, cafes and restaurants are empty.

‘Boris has got this wrong. He should be encouraging people to return to work while maintain all the coronavirus guidelines, not sit at home.’ 

Jas Bhachu, 47, a finance director of an international payments company said: ‘We are getting conflicting messages from the Government and once again, they had done another major U-turn over its latest announcement on working from home.

‘I’m not going to listen and will continue coming into the office. I could work from home if I wanted to, but I find that I’m a lot more productive when I’m in the office. Some of our staff have been furloughed while others did work from home for a while but we’re all now back in the office.

‘I like the office environment; you get through things a lot quicker.

‘The Government doesn’t really have a plan. They keep changing their minds and it’s causing a lot of confusion.’

Max Porter, 24, director of a charity said: ‘Like most people, I’m quite confused by the Government’s latest announcement. First, they told us to stay at home, then they told us to return to work and now they’re telling us to stay at home again.

‘I’ve been coming into the office since July and I prefer it to working from home. It’s a lot more productive and professional. The Government needs to make up its mind on what it wants us to do.’

Banker Jerry Wu, who is also studying for an MBA said: ‘I’m from Hong Kong and the Government there has a far clearer idea of what it wants people to do during this pandemic.

‘The British Government keeps changing its mind. This is confusing people and will have a devastating impact on the economy. The messaging is all wrong and not being delivered properly.

‘I think it’s better for people to be in an office environment because that will also help kick start the economy.’

Mr Wu added: ‘I know one bank which employs 700 people and only five of them turned up for work today following the Government’s announcement.’

Following the huge U-turn, the premier faced fire from all sides, with small business owners saying they will go bust if staff stayed home. 

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Traffic from some of the UK's biggest cities showed no sign of motorists heeding advice to stay home

Traffic from some of the UK’s biggest cities showed no sign of motorists heeding advice to stay home

Catherine McGuinness, policy chair for the City of London Corporation, the local authority for the Square Mile, said it is “disappointed” over new coronavirus guidance for workplaces.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Clearly safety has to come first and we’re at a moment when measures need to be taken.

“But we are disappointed at the blanket call for office workers to return to working from home where possible.

“Firms have taken huge steps to make sure that their offices are Covid-secure. It’s clear that this virus isn’t going to go away quickly so we need to find a way of living with it that doesn’t cripple our economy.”

She claimed other financial centres had people back in the office without apparent related increases in infection and called on the Government to look “really closely” at coronavirus evidence.

Ms McGuinness said the City of London Corporation would be asking companies to comply with government guidance, but highlighted that the fourth-quarter forecast was “looking very bad” and there were “job losses down the road”.

She also said she was “concerned” about the knock on effect on local supporting businesses.

“We’re not happy, we are disappointed and we feel that this will set back the recovery, but… we have to take steps at this difficult time,” she added.

Rush hour in Bristol saw the usually packed M5 extremely quiet after the Prime Minister's address to the nation last night

Rush hour in Bristol saw the usually packed M5 extremely quiet after the Prime Minister’s address to the nation last night

Queues of traffic were nowhere to be seen as motorists shunned motorways in their cars after the speech from Number 10

Queues of traffic were nowhere to be seen as motorists shunned motorways in their cars after the speech from Number 10

Further restrictions, which could last for well into next year, will see pubs and other leisure and hospitality businesses like restaurants face a 10pm curfew from Thursday.

People working in retail, those travelling in taxis, and staff and customers in indoor hospitality will also have to wear face coverings – except while seated at a table to eat or drink.

In a grave Commons statement the Prime Minister warned that the new curbs could last for six months – taking them well beyond Christmas – ‘unless we palpably make progress’.  

Mr Johnson was barbed for introducing new measures including a 10pm pub curfew and £200 fines for mask rule-breakers among new restrictions on social settings in England.

The PM also announced he is making the British Army available to help the police enforce stringent new coronavirus rules.

He said officers will now have the ‘option to draw on military support where required’ to free up staff so more can crackdown on rule-breakers as he revealed fines are being doubled to £200.

But Downing Street ruled out deploying soldiers on the streets, saying they would be used for ‘backfilling certain duties, such as office roles and guarding protected sites, so police can be out enforcing the virus response’.

Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation Ken Marsh slammed the announcement as ‘a nonsense’ and National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter said it ‘lacked any detail’.

Meanwhile Chief Executive of UKHospitality Kate Nicholls described the restrictions as ‘another crushing blow’ for many businesses. 

Responding to the address, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said: ‘We all want nothing more than to beat this dreadful virus and get back to normal. 

‘Sadly, today’s statement from the Prime Minister confirms this is a long way off and there will be difficult times ahead. 

‘The Prime Minister must take responsibility for what has gone wrong, and apologise for the chaotic failure of his ”world beating” test and trace system. It is inexcusable that this vital test and trace operation has been totally overwhelmed in recent weeks. 

‘Ministers must outline details of the practical steps they are taking to fix the test and trace system as quickly as possible. This is the only way to avoid yet more restrictions.

‘With millions of people worried about their jobs, businesses and livelihoods, the Prime Minister must also urgently set out a new economic plan, including the extension of furlough and more help for the self-employed and small business.’

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Three daughters remember their ‘warrior mum’, 51, killed in Manchester Arena bombing

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three daughters remember their warrior mum 51 killed in manchester arena bombing

The three daughters of a school receptionist killed in the Manchester Arena bombing have today described her as a ‘warrior mum’ who ‘treated everyone with kindness, decency and respect’.

Jane Tweddle, 51, was one of the 22 people who died in the May 2017 terror attack, which took place at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

Ms Tweddle, who worked at a school in Blackpool, Lancs, had accompanied a friend to Manchester while her 14-year-old daughter attended the concert, a public inquiry into the attack heard today.

Ms Tweddle’s daughter’s Isabelle, Harriet and Lily attended the inquiry in person at Manchester Magistrates’ Court as their pen portrait of their mother and tributes from other family members and friends were read by their lawyer.

They said: ‘You always knew how to brighten someone’s day and make them feel loved. You treated everyone with kindness, decency and respect.

Jane Tweddle (centre right), 51, was one of the 22 people who died in the May 2017 terror attack, which took place at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

Jane Tweddle (centre right), 51, was one of the 22 people who died in the May 2017 terror attack, which took place at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

‘You rarely got mad and when you did you probably had a damn good reason.

‘Our warrior mum, teaching us to be kind and to always stick together.’

They added: ‘Our house was always full of love and laughter. There is nothing in this world we wouldn’t give to hear your voice, see your smile or hold your hand for just one minute.

‘When we’d asked what time it was you’d reply ‘it’s the time of your life, never forget it’, we’ll hold on to that forever.

‘You were taken too fast, mum, but you were so loved and now you rest high peacefully.

‘We love you endlessly. Now we all have an angel to call by name.’

Ms Tweddle, originally from Hartlepool, worked at South Shore Academy in Blackpool, Lancashire, where she was said to be ‘cherished and trusted’ and ‘made for the job’.

Ms Tweddle's (pictured) daughter's Isabelle, Harriet and Lily attended the inquiry in person at Manchester Magistrates' Court as their pen portrait of their mother and tributes from other family members and friends were read by their lawyer

Ms Tweddle’s (pictured) daughter’s Isabelle, Harriet and Lily attended the inquiry in person at Manchester Magistrates’ Court as their pen portrait of their mother and tributes from other family members and friends were read by their lawyer

The inquiry was told: ‘Familiar, friendly and full of life, you were the first person the students would see when they walked through the door in the morning.

‘Children from all backgrounds would open up to you about their homes lives and personal struggles.

‘The perfect listener, you were a shoulder to cry on and a source of strength and support for so many.’

Her mother, Margaret Tweddle, said: ‘What happened in Manchester that night was evil and we won’t let evil win – Jane would not want that.’ 

The inquiry also heard how a nurse killed in the bombing ‘adored’ her husband and her ‘super six’ children. 

Alison Howe was one of the 22 people killed in the terror attack. She was waiting to pick up one of her children from the concert at the time.

Her husband Stephen Howe said the loss of the 44-year-old, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, had ‘absolutely destroyed what we had in a mother and a wife’.

Mr Howe told the inquiry in a video recorded message that Alison was a ‘fantastic’ mother to their two daughters and his four sons until the day she died as she waited to pick up one of her daughters from the Ariana Grande concert.

He said: ‘She really was fantastic inside and out.

‘You’ll never believe the impact it has had on our family and children, as the other families.

‘It’s absolutely destroyed what we had in a mother and a wife. I don’t think we are ever to get over this properly. I can only give credit to the way that she brought my sons and my daughters up and the strength they have got through her.’

Mrs Howe’s mother, Sue, said her daughter was a talented musician from the age of five and that the pair were ‘the best of friends’ who saw each other nearly every day.

She said: ‘She adored her family. Stephen and the children were her everything. The gaping hole that’s been left is unbelievable.

‘We don’t live any more, we just exist. Nothing will take away the pain and loss we feel. I still turn around when somebody shouts ‘mum’ and it’s like being stabbed in the heart.’

Alison Howe was one of the 22 people killed in the terror attack (pictured: police at the scene). She was waiting to pick up one of her children from the concert at the time

Alison Howe was one of the 22 people killed in the terror attack (pictured: police at the scene). She was waiting to pick up one of her children from the concert at the time

Mrs Howe’s best friend, Tracey Green, read a poem written by the nurse’s stepson Harry on behalf of her ‘Super Six’ children.

It ended: ‘I don’t know how you managed it. Us six, my dad and his beauty of a crew.

‘So special, so wonderful, so beautiful, so true. If you can hear me now, Alison Howe we all love you. Love from Harry and your Super Six.’ 

Today the chairman of the Manchester Arena Inquiry told relatives of the victims that he has a ‘huge responsibility resting on me’ after listening to seven days of tributes paid by their families.

The inquiry has spent the last two weeks listening to statements read by family members, their friends and lawyers, often accompanied by slide shows, videos and music.

At the conclusion of the hearings, Sir John Saunders, the chairman of the inquiry, told the families: ‘My lasting thoughts are one of a huge responsibility resting on me, on the inquiry team and everybody involved in the inquiry to find answers for the families and survivors and provide what they most want, which is recommendations that will make it less likely that similar events will happen in the future, with all the terrifying and terrible suffering that that brings.’

Mrs Howe's (pictured) best friend, Tracey Green, read a poem written by the nurse's stepson Harry on behalf of her 'Super Six' children

Mrs Howe’s (pictured) best friend, Tracey Green, read a poem written by the nurse’s stepson Harry on behalf of her ‘Super Six’ children

He added: ‘For those of us who have listened, it has been a deeply affecting and emotionally draining experience, how much worse must it have been for those families who have prepared and presented it?’

He said the inquiry wanted to make clear that the deceased and their families are ‘at the centre of this inquiry.’

‘In the course of the last two weeks we have learned about the lives and personalities of those who died,’ Sir John added.

‘They are not a number, each of them is not just one of the 22 who died, each was an individual, each was unique and each loss of life is a separate tragedy.

‘My overwhelming impression is one a group of people who, for the most part, were strangers brought together only in death but who individually had brought great joy and happiness to others.

‘They seem to have shared a great spirit of fun and enjoyment and a zest for life.’

Sir John also praised the people of Manchester, saying: ‘From the moment of the explosion, the families have had support from Manchester. No city has done more to put an arm around those who are suffering.’

The chairman said it was important that the public know of the effect of the attack on the families and friends of those killed.

‘It is important that the extent of the suffering of both relatives and friends of those who died and the continued physical and mental struggles of the survivors, is understood,’ he told the hearing.

‘Without knowing the real consequences of an attack such as was carried out May 22 2017, a proper balance cannot be struck between the right of individuals to a private life and the duty of the state to protect lives.’

All representatives have been socially distanced and have sat behind plastic screens in Court 7 of Manchester Magistrates Court.

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, head of Counter-Terrorism Policing North West, and representatives from British Transport Police and the North West Fire and Rescue Service have sat in the hearing room throughout.

Lawyers for the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) have been in an adjacent court room.

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Detectives hunt arsonists after FOUR linked blazes

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detectives hunt arsonists after four linked blazes

Detectives are probing a string of arson attacks which left a man dead and a woman seriously injured.

Four similar attacks, believed to have been targeted, took place in the space of a week in Greenock, Inverclyde, with police appealing to catch those responsible.

Some of the attacks happened at family homes with accelerants lobbed through a window, while a stolen car believed to have been used in some of the crimes by three teenage suspects was found torched days later.

Police have launched a joint investigation with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service into the attacks, which are suspected to be linked.

On September 16, a mother was badly hurt and needed hospital treatment when in a fire at a home feared to have been started by a firebomb being thrown through a window

On September 16, a mother was badly hurt and needed hospital treatment when in a fire at a home feared to have been started by a firebomb being thrown through a window

A man aged 46 was found dead on September 14 after a fire at a home in Union Street, Greenock, around 10.35pm.

Two days later, on September 16, a mother was badly hurt and needed hospital treatment when in a fire at a home feared to have been started by a firebomb being thrown through a window.

The woman, aged 40, was at home with her nine-year-old daughter at the time of the blaze, at 11.05pm on Wellington Street, and a small white car was seen speeding away.

Around five minutes later witnesses reported seeing a white Suzuki Splash hatchback with registration number GK14 FZE speeding in a nearby road before being abandoned.

Two men who were passengers, described as in their late teens and skinny with grey hoodies zipped over their faces, got out the car while the driver was described as wearing a black hoodie zipped over his head with a scarf around his face.

All three ran off down Skye Street, and within a matter of hours at 2.20am on September 17, the Suzuki – which had been stolen 24 hours earlier – had been found ablaze on the same road.

Emergency services were called to an incident, which is believed to have been a petrol bomb thrown at a flat in Greenock, Scotland

Emergency services were called to an incident, which is believed to have been a petrol bomb thrown at a flat in Greenock, Scotland

On Saturday, September 19 another fire was started in the town after a firebomb was thrown at a building on Cumberland Road, with a family inside.

A mum, 46, and her six-year-old daughter as well as another family member were unharmed but garden furniture was set alight and quickly extinguished.

Detective Superintendent Gerry McBride said: ‘I would like to start by saying how sickened we are by all of these incidents, whether linked or not, these have been unprovoked, targeted attacks which have resulted in both serious injury and death.

‘A couple of these attacks have also taken place while children have been present and it has been sheer luck that the number of people injured has not been any higher.

‘We want to make it absolutely clear that this behaviour will not be tolerated in our community and officers will do everything they can to find those responsible.

‘It is also important to reassure the wider community that although enquiries are still ongoing, we do not believe there is any risk to the wider public.

‘There will be an increased police presence in the area whilst investigations are ongoing.

‘Specialist units have been deployed to both carry out enquiries, and to tackle this problem and prevent any further instances occurring.

‘I would encourage anyone who has any information which could be of assistance to please come forward.

‘We are particularly interested in finding out any information about the movements of the cars mentioned: the white Suzuki Splash, stolen from Denholm Terrace in the early hours of Wednesday, 16 September and set on fire in the early hours of Thursday, 17 September in Skye Street, and the small white car seen driving away at speed from the attack on Wellington Street around 11pm on Wednesday, 16 September.

‘If you do have any information, or if you may have seen anything or maybe have dashcam footage or private CCTV footage of any of the incidents, please contact police as soon as possible.’

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