July 4 would have been Saffie Roussos’s ninth birthday but the young girl was tragically killed in the Manchester Arena terror attack.
Saffie was the youngest victim of the harrowing suicide bombing and her mother Lisa was left in a coma from her injuries.
In celebration of Saffie’s life, friends, family and her local community in Leyland, Lancashire released hundreds of balloons and had a minute’s silence.
Hundreds of balloons released in Leyland, in memory of Manchester Arena bomb victim, Saffie Roussos, who would have been 9 yesterday. pic.twitter.com/sX0KQK4c5g
— BBC North West (@BBCNWT) July 5, 2017
The crowd sang the Robbie Williams track Strong before they played Saffie’s favourite Ariana Grande track.
Speaking on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Programme about his family’s loss for the first time, grieving father Andrew said:
I couldn’t take it in. I just sat there looking at him. It’s just your worst nightmare. I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know what to think.
She was just everything you could wish for in a little girl.
— Holly Jones (@HollyJones94) July 4, 2017
Ariana Grande also paid tribute to Saffie after a concert in Argentina with a message on her Twitter and Instagram.
The singer wrote:
What’s newwwww, Buenos Aires Argentina, I love you.
Saffie, we’re thinking of you baby
What's newwwww, Buenos Aires
Argentina, I love you
Saffie, we're ? of you baby ? https://t.co/UgMSWqxesf
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) July 6, 2017
When Saffie’s mother woke up from her coma, her heartbreaking first words were ‘Saffie’s gone, isn’t she’.
Mr Roussos said:
We’ve lost everything. We have, we’ve lost everything, because life will just never be the same.
We didn’t want to just let her birthday pass. Saffie loved the limelight and I just wanted to celebrate Saffie’s birthday through doing this.
Lisa has now undergone several operations and Andrew said it takes ‘a little bit of laughing’, ‘a little bit of joking’, and a little bit of crying and cuddling’ to get them through the day.