Tuesday 20 March 2018

Starry, innocent pop fans taken too early by cowardly attacker

Georgina Callander
Georgina Callander
Saffie Roussos (8)
John Atkinson
Missing: Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry
Missing: Olivia Campbell
Martyn Hett
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

An eight-year-old girl and a college student were among the first people to be named as victims of the Manchester terror attack.

Saffie Roussos (8), who was killed in the attack, was described by the headteacher at her school in Preston as a "beautiful little girl".

An injured woman is helped out of the Manchester Arena after last night’s blast at a gig by Ariana Grande, which left 19 dead
Police escort members of the public from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Police stand by a cordoned off street close to the Manchester Arena. Photo: Dave Thompson/Getty Images
Two women wrapped in thermal blankets stand near the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
Concert goers react after fleeing the Manchester Arena after the explosion.
Concert goers wait to be picked up at the scene of a suspected terrorist attack during a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande in Manchester
A tweet from U.S. singer Ariana Grande is seen as she makes her first comment since a bombing at her concert in Manchester
Armed police man roadblocks outside the arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig. Photo: PA
A police officer escorts people near the Manchester Arena
Police escort members of the public from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
People running down stairs as they attempt to exit the Manchester Arena after a blast
Police corden off an area close to the Box Office entrance to the Manchester Arena. Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images
Emergency services at the scene. Photo: PA
A police officer talks to locals outside the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
Armed police officers stand outside the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
An armoured police Land Rover drives away from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
People sit by the side of the road next to a police cordon outside the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
Still image taken from video shows a street scene near Manchester Arena after the blast
Armed police block a road near to the Manchester Arena

Another victim was named by her college as Georgina Callander, who was studying health and social care at Runshaw College in Leyland, Lancashire.

And tributes have been paid to 26-year-old John Atkinson from Bury, who was named by friends on Facebook as an apparent victim.

Donations to support the families of those injured and killed have poured in following the atrocity.

The 'Manchester Evening News', the city's local paper, has raised around £350,000, while a GoFundMe page to raise money for Georgina Callander's family to help with the funeral and memorial costs has raised more than £5,000.

Saffie had been at the concert with her mother Lisa Roussos, and sister Ashlee Bromwich, who is in her 20s, from Leyland, Lancashire.

They are both now in separate hospitals being treated for injuries, friends said.

Paying tribute to Saffie in a statement released through Lancashire County Council, Chris Upton, headteacher of Tarleton Community Primary School, said: "News of Saffie's death in this appalling attack has come as a tremendous shock to all of us and I would like to send our deepest condolences to all of her family and friends.

"The thought that anyone could go out to a concert and not come home is heartbreaking.

The scene at the vigil in Albert Square in the centre of Manchester for the bombing victims. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
The scene at the vigil in Albert Square in the centre of Manchester for the bombing victims. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

"Saffie was simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word. She was loved by everyone and her warmth and kindness will be remembered fondly. Saffie was quiet and unassuming with a creative flair."

Runshaw College in Leyland, Lancashire, spoke of its "enormous sadness" after hearing of Ms Callander's death.

A spokesman said the teenager was on the second year of her health and social care course, and was a former student at Bishop Rawstorne Church of England Academy.

"We are offering all available support possible at this tragic time, including counselling with our dedicated student support team."

Read more: 'She was loved by everyone' - First victims of Manchester terror attack named, girl (8) among those dead

Confirming she had died from her injuries, Bishop Rawstorne Church of England Academy added: "Georgina was a lovely young student who was very popular with her peers and the staff and always made the most of the opportunities she had at the school.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Georgina's family at this terrible time, and we think especially of her brothers Harry and Daniel who were also former students of the school."

Friends of Mr Atkinson set up a fund for his family, which received more than £1,000 in less than an hour after being established.

"John was one in a million and loved by so many," wrote Hayley Turk, who organised the fund through website GoFundMe.

"A true gentleman," she added. "Absolutely heart-broken," wrote a contributor, who gave her name as Kimberley Bowker.

Chloe Rutherford (17) and Liam Curry (19), a couple from South Shields, have still yet to be found and family members have travelled to Manchester to try to locate them.

Bernard Wills (36), the cousin of Mr Curry's father, said they are a close family and everyone was trying to do their bit.

"They are a great young couple, really loving, with a bright future ahead and there's nobody that doesn't like them," he said. "Nobody ever has a bad word to say about them, so we're all a bit worried."

Charlotte Campbell has not heard from her 15-year-old daughter Olivia since the attack.

Ms Campbell, who lives in Manchester, told BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme: "I last had contact with her at half past eight last night.

"She was at the concert, she'd just seen the support act and said she was having an amazing time and thanking me for letting her go. She was with her friend Adam, Adam was found about half an hour ago, he's in hospital but Olivia has not been found yet."

Alex Klis, from York, is also looking for her parents who have been missing since the attack. In a post on Facebook she wrote: "Anyone who is in any safe place or hospital in Manchester, if anyone comes across my parents please please let me know as they've been missing ever since the attack."

People have also used social media to try to find missing mother Wendy Fawell.

Tweets said Ms Fawell, believed to be from Otley, West Yorkshire, was last seen in the foyer area of the arena shortly before the explosion.

Debbie Mcdowell posted a photograph of Ms Fawell on Facebook with the message: "Please share this picture of my best friend Wendy Fawell who is missing after the bombing in Manchester. Praying for safe return my lovely. Love you loads xx."

Appeals were also made for the whereabouts of Kelly Brewster, from Sheffield.

It is believed she went to the concert with her sister Claire and niece Hollie, who were injured and are being treated in hospital.

PR manager Martyn Hett was at the Manchester Arena with his friend Stuart Aspinall who has joined Mr Hett's family to appeal on social media for help find him.

Mr Hett, who has appeared on the TV shows 'Tattoo Fixers' and 'Come Dine With Me', tweeted from the concert, saying: "When you sneak out for a toilet break on the Macy Gray song and the entire arena had the same idea #DangerousWomanTour".

Writing on Facebook, Mr Aspinall said: "He was on his own at the time of the attack and we are not sure where ... about in the arena he was so if anyone saw him between 10.20pm and 10.40pm let me know.

"He was wearing (a) very loud shirt with black shorts & a very large Deirdre Barlow tattoo on his calf. He left Block 103 at the concert during the final song 'Dangerous Woman' at about 10.20pm & made his way to the door - if you saw him around this time please get in touch."

Scottish teenagers Laura MacIntyre and Eilidh MacLeod, from Barra, remain missing. Officers have been in contact with their families.

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