People Are Getting Bee Tattoos In Manchester As A Beautiful Symbol Of Unity

The hive is growing in Manchester

On May 22, a suicide bomber entered the Manchester Arena shortly after an Ariana Grande concert came to a close and detonated a bomb that killed 22 people and injured dozens more.

In the wake of the utterly senseless tragedy, stories of heroism emerged of strangers helping strangers—the people of Manchester offering shelter, rides, phones, or simply a lending hand to anyone who needed it. And now, the city is coming together once again, this time to permanently mark the memory of those lives lost with a little new ink on their skin.

This week U.K. tattoo artist Sam Barber announced that she started a fundraiser called the Manchester Tattoo Appeal in the hopes of raising £50,000 ($64,000) for victims of the attack and their families. But instead of simply asking for a donation, Barber offered to tattoo any willing participant with a tiny bee tattoo, which she said was a symbol of strength.

The idea took hold, and as BuzzFeed reported, dozens of shops got in on the action, opening up specifically for the fundraiser and asking £50 ($64) per bee tattoo.

“We’ve actually got a lot of family members of some of the victims coming forward who want it as a memorial tattoo now,” Barber told the BBC. “Paramedics and health workers who were on the scene, who were there in the aftermath, who also want to come together and get that tattoo done.”

Mark Casey, a 46-year-old laborer, told BuzzFeed he got the tattoo as a sign of respect. “I had it done just for respect really. I don't know anyone who was in it. My cousin was there, but she got out just before it went off,” he said. “It's a brilliant idea; I think it's great how Manchester has all pulled together. I've got other tattoos, but this one means the most, definitely—apart from my city tattoo.”

To date, Barber’s little bee project has raised more than £192,965 (over $248,000) and is continuing to grow with the hive.

AFP News Agency / Twitter

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