THIS week, we introduce a new columnist for the Gazette & Herald.

Helen Mead was born and raised in a North Yorkshire village and has a good knowledge of Ryedale, an area she loves and visits regularly.

A journalist for 25 years, she has been writing a weekly column for the Gazette’s sister paper, the Bradford-based Telegraph & Argus since 1994 and, for the Press in York for more than 15 years.

Living in York, she has two daughters, aged 21 and 19, and mostly writes about subjects close to her heart - the highs and lows of family life, relationships, the trials of domesticity and the difficulties of life in the gadget-dominated, social-media-obsessed 21st century.

This week she launches her monthly column with her thoughts on the tragic events in Manchester last week.

READING the messages from parents desperate to find their children after the bombing in Manchester was heart-rending. “Please come home Lucy and let us know you’re safe”, said one. “If anyone sees Olivia contact me. Give her your phone and let her ring me,” said another.

I can’t even imagine the torment of waiting for news of loved ones after such an atrocity.

With two daughters who regularly go out to nightclubs, concerts and all sorts of crowded events, I tried to picture myself in their position, waiting for them to come home after a night out.

It is bad enough when they are late for no reason. This is beyond horrific and my thoughts go out to those families.

People are pledging that incidents like this will not change us. But I believe they will, they are bound to. On hearing about the bombing I immediately texted my daughters, both away at university, and warned them off going to the sort of places they love to visit.

I know they won’t take any notice, and of that I am glad. They have to live their lives and, short of staying behind closed doors, there is nothing anyone can do.

But I felt the need to warn them, even if it is only to be more alert to suspicious behaviour.

These attacks take place indiscriminately - they can happen anywhere, Manchester, London, Bradford, York, Norwich…you can’t police every pub, club, shopping centre, railway station and concert venue in the country.

And not only here - France, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Denmark - nowhere is safe.

If a suicide bomber walks in, freely, with a device hidden under their clothing, there is nothing we can do.

No matter how much the authorities scrutinise the movements of people they suspect may have the potential to act in this way, they cannot possibly bring everyone under their radar.

The sad fact is that this will happen again and again. It can’t be stopped.

The lives of the families involved in the latest bombing will never be the same again.

They will have to go home, open the doors to their missing child’s room, see their things, their bed, their clothing, and know that they are never coming back.

How do you cope with that? I am not sure that I could.

A young life horribly snuffed out by someone with no connection whatsoever to their family, a stranger.

I read one Facebook message from a girl desperate to find her missing parents.

So much terror, so much grief, it is hard for any of us to understand how anyone, whatever their beliefs, could knowingly cause such pain and suffering.

To target an event which was known to be packed with families and children is beyond contemptible.

My colleague’s teenage niece attended the Manchester concert and was thankfully okay. But the shock of having been there and witnessed such an incident will run deep.

Sadly, whatever we do, terrorism is never far from our thoughts. I recently waited for my husband in the busy foyer of The Shard in London, which is accessible to anyone.

I sat there thinking how easy it would be to bring in a bomb (although you do get searched before you go up). And the last time I flew, a man was behaving oddly in the plane with his suitcase. My husband reprimanded me for whispering my concerns.

We should not think like this, yet we do.

And we will continue to do so, because this is not going to end.