Ariana Grande has said she is “moved and honoured” after being made an honorary citizen of Manchester.
The city council unanimously agreed the gesture on Wednesday as a thank you for the way she responded to the Manchester Arena attack in May.
“I don’t know what to say,” Grande wrote on Instagram. “Words don’t suffice.
“I’m moved and honoured. My heart is very much still there. I love you. Thank you.”
She ended her message with a bee symbol – the city’s emblem.
The singer was praised for returning to stage the One Love Manchester concert less than two weeks after the attack on her arena gig, which killed 22 people.
‘She brought comfort to thousands’
Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese said it would have been understandable if she hadn’t returned.
“But no – instead she, as an artist, a performer, was determined that she would not perform again until she had returned to Manchester to perform,” he said.
“In doing so, she brought comfort to thousands, she raised millions for the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund and became the first patron of that fund.
“And that’s why I propose that Ariana Grande is made the first honorary citizen of the city of Manchester.”
There are currently no plans for a ceremony to award Grande her citizenship in person.
Sir Richard Leese also hailed those who helped in the aftermath for showing the “spirit of Manchester… of strength and defiance”.
Anne Marie McNally from Prestatyn, Denbighshire, who was at the Manchester Arena concert, told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme that the council should prioritise official recognition for the emergency services and members of the public who helped on the night.
“There were a lot of people on that evening who ran in to help,” she said. “These people were there on the ground trying to save people, trying to help people as much as possible, helping children to get home to their parents.
“And the emergency services of course – they’re human beings like us. Yes they’re trained and they’re skilled but they still had an awful lot to deal with. I’m sure that they’ve come away from the situation as traumatised as the ones that were in there.”
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