Theresa May has used her Easter message to pay tribute to the “triumph of human spirit” following the terror attacks in London and Manchester and the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The prime minister hailed the bravery of victims and communities, as well as the dedication of the emergency services, after a turbulent 2017 marred by atrocities at Westminster Bridge, London Bridge and Finsbury Park, the terrible attack on concert-goers at Manchester Arena, and the deaths of 71 people in the Grenfell Tower fire.

Ms May, whose father was a vicar, said the Easter story pointed to a “promise of new life and the triumph of hope”, as she sought to draw a line under the divisions caused by Brexit.

Addressing the nation, she said: “Over the last year, Britain has faced some dark moments, from the terrorist attacks at Westminster Bridge and London Bridge, at Manchester Arena and Finsbury Park, and the fire at Grenfell Tower.

“I know from speaking to the victims and survivors of these terrible events how vital the love and support they have received from their friends, family and neighbours has been to them as they begin to rebuild their lives.

“In the bravery of those facing adversity, the dedication of our emergency services and the generosity of local communities, we see the triumph of the human spirit.

“The Easter story contains an inspiring promise of new life and the triumph of hope.”

Ms May and her husband Philip are spending the Easter weekend on a walking holiday in Wales, before returning to her Maidenhead constituency next week.

The prime minister decided to call the disastrous snap general election during the same trip last year.

In a speech at a recent dinner for political journalists, Ms May joked that the previous event had to be postponed because of the election, adding: “I was looking forward to this event so much that I called a general election to get out of it.

“But I can’t pull that stunt two years in a row. Or can I? I am, after all, going walking in Wales at Easter.”