Exactly a week after the start of the Paris attacks, hundreds of people in Harrogate stopped to pray for peace at an outdoor candlelit vigil in the town centre.
The Vigil for Peace was organised by Churches Together in Harrogate and led by the Revd Guy Donegon-Cross, Chair of Churches Together and Vicar of St Mark’s Harrogate.
The vigil including the lighting of candles which were later placed on the town’s Cenotaph, readings from some of the survivors of the attacks, music, songs and silence.
But at exactly 8.20pm, there was loud cheering from the crowd to echo the call in Paris for the people of Paris to cheer in defiance of the extremist killers, one week on.
The vigil including the reading of words by Antoine Leiris who lost his wife Helene in the Bataclan theatre in Paris. His Facebook tribute to his wife and challenge to her killers has since been shared thousands of times.
He wrote, ““Friday night, you took an exceptional life - the love of my life, the mother of my son - but you will not have my hatred. I don't know who you are and I don't want to know, you are dead souls. If this God, for whom you kill blindly, made us in his image, every bullet in the body of my wife would have been one more wound in his heart.
“So, no, I will not grant you the gift of my hatred. You're asking for it, but responding to hatred with anger is falling victim to the same ignorance that has made you what you are. You want me to be scared, to view my countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my liberty for my security. You lost.
“I saw her this morning. Finally, after nights and daysof waiting. She was just as beautiful as when she left on Friday night, just as beautiful as when I fell hopelessly in love over 12 years ago. Of course I am devastated by this pain, I give you this little victory, but the pain will be short-lived. I know that she will be with us every day and that we will find ourselves again in this paradise of free love to which you have no access.
“We are just two, my son and me, but we are stronger than all the armies in the world. I don't have any more time to devote to you, I have to join Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is barely 17-months-old. He will eat his meals as usual, and then we are going to play as usual, and for his whole life this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free. Because no, you will not have his hatred either.”