Column: We stand with Manchester - and all of our children and young people

Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Martin Rickett/PA Wire

There’s something to be said for looking back on happy childhood memories, and I’m sure no matter who you are you all have a few. 
For me some of the best nights of my early teens were spent at the Manchester Arena, a first taste of freedom going to see the likes of (don’t judge me) Green Day, The Offspring, and when I was younger still Disney on Ice. 
For anyone around my age who grew up in that part of the north it’s kind of a rites of passage experience - your folks would drop you off, and stand and wait for you in the foyer after you’d pretended to be oh so grown up for a couple of hours.

I have no words to describe how I feel about what happened on Monday night - only that I sincerely hope that all of those people who witnessed the horrific atrocity, or so cruelly lost loved ones can one day find some semblance of comfort and peace again.

Content Editor Hayley O'Keeffe

Content Editor Hayley O'Keeffe

We all stand with Manchester, and I for one stand with everyone’s right to make happy childhood memories free from harm or fear.

Last week - like many of us - I sat down to watch the three part drama Three Girls, about the Rochdale child sexual exploitation case. The striking similarities between what happened in Rochdale and what happened here in Aylesbury were obviously not lost on you, our readers either.

Throughout the week our coverage of the Old Bailey trial of those six men returned to our ‘most read’ list. A need to understand and prevent child sexual exploitation a renewed concern once more.

So this week I made it my mission to gather together as much information as possible on what we can all do to prevent these types of crimes, and look at what has changed since the council and other agencies let down those brave victims.

Because - while childhood and early adolescence can be difficult for us all, we all deserve to have more happy memories than bad ones, and it’s all of our responsibility to ‘knowledge up’ in as many ways as we can to make sure that happens.

If you would like to get in touch with me direct I would love to hear from you - email hayley.okeeffe@jpress.co.uk