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But amid the fear and horror which it brought, there’s another feeling which is being felt across Liverpool too – and that’s one of support and togetherness.
Merseyside Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said at a news conference today: “The people of Liverpool and Merseyside are well known for supporting each other and at a time like this this is needed more than ever.”
It’s that bond that has held Liverpool together on more than one occasion – after the terror threat at Aintree Grand National in 1997 when people opened their homes to those stranded at the racecourse, to Hillsborough when the city united in its grief and joined forces to demand the truth.
And it’s been seen again over the last 24 hours…
Elaine Halsall is emergency duty officer for Liverpool City Council and responds with help following incidents where it’s not safe for people to stay in their homes.
As police and counter terrorism searches got underway in the Rutland Avenue area near Sefton Park yesterday she helped set up Lifestyles leisure centres for the families evacuated from their homes.
She said: “Two respite centres were set up to provide accommodation for people in need.”
#NewsAlert – Due to yesterday’s incident @LiverpoolWomens, several families in #Liverpool were displaced overnight.
In response @lpoolcouncil provided temporary facilities for anyone who needed it & arranged accommodation.#councilscan #TeamLiverpool pic.twitter.com/JGZUWy8Aq2
— Liverpool City Council (@lpoolcouncil) November 15, 2021
Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson praised the efforts of taxi driver David Perry, who sustained injuries in the blast, for his efforts to limit the impact when his car exploded.
“The driver, in his heroic efforts, has managed to divert what could have been an absolutely awful disaster at the hospital,” she said.
“Our thanks go to him and our emergency services, and authorities worked through the night to divert anything further. We’ve all been on standby and in constant contact to provide any support that’s needed.”
While he couldn’t comment on the ongoing investigation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of taxi driver David Perry: “It appears the taxi driver behaved with incredible presence of mind and bravery.”
Merseyside chief fire officer Phil Garrigan said staff from the fire and rescue services worked throughout the day and were at the scene within minutes.
And he added that, working with Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council, they would continue to provide reassurance to all the communities affected, including ‘knocking on doors to speak to people in the area and check their welfare’.
Mayor of the Liverpool City Region expressed his shock to the events on Sunday amplifying the message of how strong the area is and how important it is that we stick together. His full statement is below.
“Like everyone else across the Liverpool City Region I was horrified to learn of the explosion outside the Liverpool Women’s Hospital yesterday morning. This has now been declared a terrorist incident.
Sadly, events like these are not as surprising as they once were. That does not make them any less shocking. Like those that have gone before, it would seem that this was an attempt to sow discord and division within our communities.
But our area is much stronger than that. We are known for our solidarity and resilience. Our diversity remains one of our greatest strengths.
We will never let those who seek to divide us win.
Today, and for the next few days, I would urge us all to make an extra effort to be kinder to our friends and neighbours. Do not be afraid to offer them reassurance – or to ask for reassurance yourself. Our community spirit is far more powerful than any hatred.
I would like to put on record my thanks to everybody who acted so quickly to intervene – from our emergency services who were on the scene in minutes, to Liverpool City Council, who have stepped in to support the people affected and the ordinary citizens who came forward to help.
It is vital that the police and counter terrorism officers are allowed to get on with their investigation, uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice.
Please allow them to get on with that work. I would ask everyone across our region to remain calm and vigilant.
Avoid spreading rumours or misinformation. By doing so only sows further confusion and causes unnecessary worry. Please report anything suspicious to the police and follow their social media for updates.
Together – we are much, much stronger.”
— Liverpool City Council (@lpoolcouncil) November 15, 2021
Two fundraising pages set up to help Women’s Hospital bomb blast taxi driver David Perry have raised well over £30,000 in less than 24 hours.
David, who has been hailed a hero for his actions outside the hospital on Sunday morning, is reported to have suffered injuries and burns in the terror incident.
Now fundraising campaigns have been launched to support him and his family, and to replace the car which was destroyed in the explosion.
One on Facebook created by Jenny Phillips and friends at Blueline taxis and the Merseyside and West Lancashire Drivers has already topped £20,000 from over 1,500 donations. You can donate to that here.
Emergency services and the local authority were to be commended, she said, for responding so quickly and professionally to the ‘concerning and scary’ incident.
“It’s a shocking incident and things could have been a lot worse,” she said. “All the services responded very efficiently and quickly to ensure no further damage could be undertaken.”
She added that, amid speculation, the investigations should be allowed to continue without misinformation, and said her thoughts were with her constituents.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said news the incident had been confirmed as a terrorist incident would be unsettling and worrying.
But she added. “While incidents like this are incredibly distressing, they are thankfully very rare.
“I wish the taxi driver a speedy and full recovery.”
She said her thoughts were with the ‘fantastic staff at Liverpool Women’s Hospital’ who she added, ‘are continuing to offer specialist, dedicated care to patients, as they do day in, day out’.
And she went on: “My sincere and heartfelt thanks go to the emergency services who have worked around the clock on this investigation and to keep our communities safe, to council staff and public services who have rallied around them, as well as local communities for their overwhelming support.
“Whatever the motivation behind this attack, Liverpool remains united.
“We are a city that comes together in difficult times and I know this will be no different. It’s why so many of us are proud to call Merseyside our home.”
Anyone who witnessed the incident or has been affected can access support from the Peace Foundation at https://www.peace-foundation.org.uk/ or my Victim Care Merseyside partner Victim Support. Please visit www.victimcaremerseyside.org
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