The funeral of the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena terror attack Saffie Roussos takes place today.
At least a hundred people from Leyland, where Saffie’s family is from, will make their way to Manchester Cathedral where the service will be held at 1.45pm.
Saffie was simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word
The eight-year-old was killed, along with 21 others, by suicide bomber Salman Abedi when he detonated a home-made explosive at Manchester Arena as crowds left a concert by American singer Ariana Grande on May 22.
Saffie was at the gig with her mum Lisa, 48, and elder sister Ashlee Bromwich, both of whom were hospitalised with serious shard injuries from the blast.
Following the terror attack Lisa spent about a week unconscious and on a life support machine. She has undergone several operations.
Of those killed in the blast four were from the Lancashire area - Saffie, 18-year-old Georgina Callander from Tarleton, Jane Tweddle, a receptionist at South Shore Academy in Blackpool and mum-of-three Michelle Kiss who was brought up in Leyland before moving to Blackburn.
A Leyland coach company is offering free travel to Manchester for the funeral, after their drivers volunteered to work for free.
“The loss of Saffie Rose Roussos has touched all our lives and hearts,” said a spokesman for Avagroup.
“If any of the family, friends or residents of South Ribble that have been affected by the sadness and loss of Saffie would like to pay their respects, AvaCoach are providing two coaches with a total capacity for 100 mourners.”
Saffie’s family have invited the public of Manchester, where she died, to gather at and around the Victoria Street cathedral on the day and are asking people to wear colourful clothing.
Those wishing to bring flowers are asked to take along a single rose, after their daughter’s middle name.
The two coaches - the first is already fully booked - will meet at Tesco in Towngate, Leyland at 11.30am.
Seats for the second coach are being allocated on a ‘first to confirm’ basis.
Saffie, who loved dancing, gymnastics and music, was one of the first to be publicly identified in the days after the attack.
In a statement released after her death, Saffie’s school she said was loved by everyone.
Chris Upton, headteacher of Tarleton Community Primary School, said: “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. The thought that anyone could go out to a concert and not come home is heartbreaking.”
Just a few weeks ago hundreds gathered outside Saffie’s parents’ chip shop The Plaice in Hough Lane, Leyland to mark what would have been her ninth birthday.
Crowds released balloons in her memory and a mini funfair was held as part of the celebration of her life.
Saffie’s father Andrew said: “We’ve lost everything. “We have, we’ve lost everything, because life will just never be the same.”
Saffie’s funeral will be the last of those who died in the terrorist attack.