United in its grief following the Manchester attack, Portsmouth came together to pay respect to the fallen.
Placards were waved, candles were lit and passionate speeches filled Guildhall Square as 200 people stood together in unison.
Each speech was loudly cheered as the young and old stood on the Guildhall’s steps and called for an end to extremism and terrorism.
I do not think as a human being I even want to bring my children up in this world anymore but what can we do apart from unite as one and protect each otherLinda Docherty
It followed Monday’s barbaric attack on concert goers coming out of an Ariane Grande gig at Manchester Arena which led to 22 deaths, including that of eight-year-old Saffie-Rose Roussos.
Linda Docherty, an NHS practice secretary from Hayling Island received huge applause during a passionate speech in which she urged unity among the community.
The mum-of-three said: ‘We are all human beings. We are all out to protect each another. I have had tears after tears after tears and anger throughout these last few days seeing the same faces and we should all pull together and unite as one!
‘I do not think as a human being I even want to bring my children up in this world anymore but what can we do apart from unite as one and protect each other.
‘So please stop together and stop this evil stuff.’
Francesa Snellgrove, from Portsmouth, also gave an poignant speech where she talked about the effect that the attacks have had on her two children.
She said: ‘My children are scared so I told them that for all the bad men that are out there who do bad things, there are many more good people who will come out and stand together and show them that they we will not be beaten. This will not change the way we leave our lives. We will not be scared.’
Veronika Wagner, who works at St James Hospital in Milton said: ‘I am very grateful for my NHS colleagues in Manchester and to all those who came to help out even though they were not on duty that night.
‘Everyone within the NHS pulled together to save lives and I’ve read about operations that lasted as long as ten hours so people really gave their all. We must not forget in all this horror, there was also an awful lot of good that came out of it.’
Morgan Gascoigne, a 14-year-old student at Cams Hill School in Fareham read aloud a poem which said: ‘Our loved ones leave behind a light that will never dim or fade.
‘It is kept bright by the love we feel and the memories we make. It can warm us like a candle’s glow and help bring comfort too, no matter where you go, you’ll find it is always close to you. In the darker times remember in our hearts there’s lights that are strong, so every time we think of them, their memory shines on.’