A MUSICAL tribute showing ‘solidarity and strength’ for those who lost their lives in Nice was paid at the Redditch Music Festival on Saturday (July 16)
The event at the bandstand on Church Green was attended by the imam from the local mosque, MP Karen Lumley, Mayor Joe Baker and Council leader Bill Hartnett, who joined members of the public to celebrate local talent and show support for those affected by the recent events in France.
Coun Hartnett said: “Today we are all French. This event demonstrates the unity and community spirit in Redditch.
“We were all horrified when we saw the images from Nice, so whatever our views, opinions, race or religion, we in Redditch will stand shoulder to shoulder with the French nation.”
A Union Jack and a Tricolour flag were flown side by side at the stage while the Marseillaise was played by Betty Witicker on the violin with Simone Hughes leading the singing of the French national anthem.
Mayor Baker said: “We wanted to show that the people of Redditch are not going to tolerate acts of violence and we will instead show our unity.
“I felt it was the right thing to do as a show of solidarity and strength.”
Local band Him And Her played a cover of REM’s Everybody Hurts in tribute to the victims of the Nice attack on Bastille Day (July 14).
Representatives from the friends of the two French towns Redditch is twinned with, Auxerre and Gruchet-le-Valasse, also attended the performance.
This tribute followed the lowering of the Union Jack flag at the town hall to half mast on Friday (July 15), where members of the Muslim community and two French nationals joined Mayor Baker, Coun Hartnett and Karen Lumley.
At the lowering of the flag Mrs Lumley said: “First of all we all want to send a message to our French friends to say how sorry we were to hear of this brutal and cowardly attack.
“I am sure I speak for everyone in Redditch and surrounding villages when I say that we stand shoulder to shoulder with our friend across the Channel in condemning these attacks in the strongest possible way.
“The people that perpetrate these assaults seek to destroy our way of life, and I say right now that the terrorists must never be allowed to win.
Coun Hartnett also spoke of the attempted coup in Turkey, which happened throughout Friday night, and encouraged the people of Redditch to unite in these turbulent times.