Policeman Paul Taylor unwittingly became one of the breakout stars of Sunday’s Ariana Grande-led One Love Manchester benefit concert when he was filmed linking arms and dancing with a group of young fans.
“I was approached by these two girls — I think they were sisters about 7 or 8 years old. They asked for a photograph, which I was more than happy to do,” he says.
“Then it was a case of them saying ‘Now you’re going to dance with us!’ You can’t say no – I was more than happy.”
The 50-year-old father-of-two adds, “I didn’t realize anything would come of it, and wasn’t aware that it had been filmed.”
Not a music expert, he says he thinks he was dancing along to Justin Bieber.
Many other police officers took selfies with the crowd of approximately 45,000, he says.
“It was a pretty amazing atmosphere,” Taylor, who normally works as a response officer 110 miles away in Darlington says.
“It’s not every often as a police officer you get to witness that and work on something like that. There is another side to it too – it shows that the police have a human side,” says Taylor. “We do care about what we do, and the fact that we put a smile on peoples’ faces, I am more than happy to do that.”
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Taylor and some colleagues from his police force were among the many drafted into the city to help with the crowds as Manchester police have been overstretched since the May 22 suicide bombing, which killed 22 and hospitalized 59.
“We were asked to help with resources,” Taylor explains.
He says “can’t quite believe” the publicity over his dance, and he adds of the evening, “It is very difficult for the families who are affected by it. But I hope that people did enjoy themselves. And with us going to reassure them and make sure that they are safe so they can enjoy themselves – that was the main thing.”
“I briefly went to bed and woke up to see I had loads of missed calls and texts,” he says.
News of his actions have gone far that his son Ryan, 23, texted him from abroad.
“He said, ‘That was never you on the telly last night was it?’ I had to tell him yes!”