Comedy star and ITV Starstruck judge Jason Manford has revealed the touching message behind his incredible bee-embellished suit on the hit Saturday night music show – and it has got viewers quite emotional.
Jason is on the all-star panel of the ITV singing show – alongside Sheridan Smith, Beverley Knight and Adam Lambert – where tribute acts to huge music stars compete to be the best soundalikes.
On Saturday night’s show Jason wore a stylish black suit that was embellished with 22 bees and he confirmed after the show that he had the suit especially designed as a tribute to the 22 men, women and children who lost their lives at the terrorist bombing at Manchester Arena after Ariana Grande’s gig in May 2017.
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This year marks five years since the tragedy and Jason will be among a host of stars teaming up for a charity football match in Manchester to remember the lives lost on that fateful night.
Writing on Facebook, Jason said: “For people asking about the suit. It’s just a normal suit which my friend & wardrobe pro Tanja Martin livened up by attaching 22 bees to. #ManchesterRemembers
“I’m playing in a charity footy game for @McrRemembers Sunday 3rd April at @ManCity. For tickets https://www.mancity.com/manchester-remembers ”
Fans of the Stockport-based singer and comedian were full of praise for the incredible message behind the suit, swiftly racking up the likes on his Facebook post.
Adele Kierans wrote: “I did not realise there were 22 bees on your suit! Now I want to cry! Manchester will always remember”
Wendy Cook said: “It was the first thing I noticed last night and it instantly made me think of that. Well done Jason such a top guy.”
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Glenis Rumsby added: “We recently spent a couple of nights in Manchester and learned about the Bees so as soon as I saw your suit tonight I knew what they were for. Well done Jason.”
Jodie Perry said simply: “Best jacket I’ve seen in a very long time, remembering the Manchester angels”.
Saturday night’s Starstruck saw Team Streisand triumph, with fans “obsessed” with how good the Barbara Streisand soundalikes were.
The bee has long been known as the symbol of Manchester, but took on a new meaning after the terrorist atrocity of May 2017, with thousands of people across the city getting bee tattoos in honour of the victims of the bombing in its aftermath, while murals featuring 22 bees also went up across the city.
Jason got emotional on the opening episode of Starstruck, when three singers performed as Ariana Grande and sang her fan anthem One Last Time.
He had been among the thousands attending the One Love charity concert that Ariana organised just two weeks after the atrocity,
He said at the time: “I remember seeing the real Ariana Grande perform at the One Love concert in Manchester and music has that ability to take you places to where you were when you first heard it.
“There were some moments where you get quite teary.”
Jason is confirmed to take part in the upcoming charity football match that will see former professionals take on celebrities to mark the fifth anniversary of the Manchester Arena bombing.
Named Manchester Remembers, the event on April 3 is being organised by former police officer, Aaron Lee, who was one of the first on the scene during the attack in 2017.
He worked with the victims’ families in the aftermath of the tragedy – and has shown continued support in his fundraising efforts, helping to raise £44,000 for the charities that were set up in memory of the 22 victims.
Some of the players signed up to take part include Jason Manford, Paddy McGuiness, Adam Thomas, Clayton Blackmore, Trevor Sinclair, Wes Brown, and Paul Merson.
The footballing legends team will be managed by Sam Allardyce, and the celebrities overseen by Joe Royle and Peter Reid. Despite Aaron being a United fan, Manchester City Stadium will be hosting the match.
Tickets for the charity match can be booked here.
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