Hundreds of mourners gathered in Great Harwood for a vigil in memory of the victims of the Manchester terror attack.
Residents from different religions and backgrounds attended Towngate on Wednesday night for the event organised by members of the Great Harwood Neighbourhood Watch (GHNW) Facebook group.
Religious leaders, councillors, Rotarians and British Legion members spoke to the crowd to send a message that those of all faiths were standing together in the face of terrorism.
The short ceremony included a minute’s silence for the 22 people who lost their lives and the 150 people injured in the suicide bombing at the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on Monday night.
Speaking at the vigil, an Imam from the Great Harwood mosque community said: “These acts of violence and terrible atrocities that take place have no part within our community and society. They have no place in England or anywhere in the world.
“The example we have as Muslims as to what a community should be is such that if one person in our community gets hurt the whole community feels that pain.
“I’m really pleased and glad that so many people have turned out today from different backgrounds and communities. Everybody is Great Harwood has showed up to show that even if something has happened in Manchester, everyone here in Great Harwood has also felt that pain.
“It’s very important that we understand that these acts are designed specifically to create disunity within us and make us point at each other and say such and such a person is like this and that. That’s how they win.
“What they don’t want to see is every time they do these stupid things we come together and become close for it. That’s the opposite of what they are trying to do.”
Great Harwood councillor Noordad Aziz said the turnout was ‘absolutely fantastic’.
He told the crowd: “We want to show as a community in Great Harwood that we stand together against hate and terrorist atrocities in Manchester and across the world.
“We say no to intolerance, injustices and the taking of innocent human life.”
The vigil was organised on Wednesday morning through social media.
A member of the GHNW group added: “I organised this tonight to show that the whole community is together.
“They do these acts to divide people and what they did on Monday night was kill innocent children, innocent humans for no reason apart from to divide us. We all need to stick together and work together to eradicate this.
“It’s good that everybody has turned out at such short notice.”
Jon Metcalfe, of the Royal British Legion Great Harwood branch, said: “We’re always told there are different sides to a community. One thing I’ve learned, especially with Great Harwood, is that there’s only one community and that’s us.
“Divided we stand, divided we fall, but I can’t see that ever happening in this country, this county or this town.
“I think you are all absolutely fantastic and it’s always an honour to meet new people. Our thoughts are with everybody who has been affected by this.”
Speaking after the vigil, Patrick McGinley, president of the Great Harwood and Rishton Rotary Club, said: “It was an amazing turnout and very touching. There was a one-minute silence that was very well observed.
“No-one of any religion or colour supports what these people have done.”
A vigil will be held at St James Church in Accrington town centre at 7.30pm tonight.