VIDEO: Thousands brave weather to pay a touching tribute to Saffie

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Touching tributes were paid to Saffie Roussos, the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena terror attack, as thousands turned out to Leyland’s Christmas lights switch-on.

The glittering town centre display includes Saffie’s Star atop a tree in front of Saffie’s parents’ fish and chip shop.

Saffie Rose Roussos

Saffie Rose Roussos

Ahead of the switch-on by Coronation Street TV star Simon Gregson, who roams the cobbles as Steve McDonald, Saffie’s dad Andrew spoke publicly for the first time since the Manchester attack six months ago.

He thanked the people of Leyland for their “absolutely amazing love and support”.

“Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts,” he said.

South Ribble mayor Mick Titherington said: “The abiding legacy of Saffie’s will be one of love and the shining star is such a fitting tribute.”

Martin Carlin of Leyland Town team was delighted with the turnout for the switch-on.

“We had two or three thousand last year and this was much bigger,” he said.

Eight-year-old Saffie was killed along with 21 others by suicide bomber Salman Abedi, when he detonated a home-made explosive at Manchester Arena.

It happened as crowds left a concert by American singer Ariana Grande on May 22.

Saffie was at the gig with her mum Lisa, then 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 later underwent 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.