Victim’s mother lays first flower at village vigil to youngsters lost in terror attack

Vigil held at Tarleton Community Primary School for victims of the Manchester terror attack Saffie Roussos, 8, and Georgina Callander, 16
Vigil held at Tarleton Community Primary School for victims of the Manchester terror attack Saffie Roussos, 8, and Georgina Callander, 16

The grieving mother of 18-year-old victim Georgina Callander fought back the tears to attend a vigil to the Manchester bombing victims .

Introduced only as Lesley, the mum, who was barefoot and flanked by police officers, was helped to walk across a packed Mark’s Square in Tarleton, where she placed a single yellow flower in memorial to her daughter and eight-year-old village schoolgirl Saffie Rose Roussos, also killed in the attack.

Vigil held at Tarleton Community Primary School for victims of the Manchester terror attack Saffie Roussos, 8, and Georgina Callander, 16

Vigil held at Tarleton Community Primary School for victims of the Manchester terror attack Saffie Roussos, 8, and Georgina Callander, 16

She was then joined by members of the community, who released pink balloons, laid flowers, lit candles and left teddy bears for the victims.

It is believed that Georgina, a Runshaw College student, was a resident of Tarleton and Saffie attended Tarleton Community Primary School.

Bishop John Goddard, who lives in the village, lead a 20 minute service in the square attended by around 1,000 people, many of them children.

He said: “The local community are shocked and devastated at the loss of Saffie and Georgina.

Vigil held at Tarleton Community Primary School for victims of the Manchester terror attack Saffie Roussos, 8, and Georgina Callander, 16

Vigil held at Tarleton Community Primary School for victims of the Manchester terror attack Saffie Roussos, 8, and Georgina Callander, 16

“I feel privileged to be asked to do this, and tonight is so important, because we are showing ways of peace and support for the families that will overcome evil.

“This was an abhorrent and evil action against largely mums and their daughters and we want to speak into that horror with strength and love.”

During a two-minute silence, all that could be heard was the muffled sounds of Lesley’s crying, her head buried in the chest of a family member.

When the silence was over, villagers were then asked to join hands and they recited the Lord’s Prayer together.

To mark the end of the vigil, Ariana Grande’s Put Your Hearts Up was played. The song contains the lyrics “If we give a little love, maybe we can change the world.”

Karen Walton from Tarleton took potted flowers and candles to the vigil.

She said: “I saw on Facebook there would be a vigil and I thought it was important to come.

“Tarleton is a community where we all pull together when something dreadful happens.”

Lukas Allsworth, 18, laid pink roses in the square. He said: “I didn’t know Georgina well, but I knew of her. She was too young to die.

“I felt I needed to come and show my respects.

“Tarleton is a strong community, we work together, and it has been important to a lot of people to show that solidarity,even if they didn’t know either of the girls.”