Youngest Manchester bombing victim Saffie Roussos mourned at funeral
Many mourners were carrying a single rose in memory of the eight-year-old.
The funeral of the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena bombing is being held in the city.
Saffie Rose Roussos, eight, was among the throng of elated youngsters leaving the arena in May after an Ariana Grande concert – a Christmas present from her parents – when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his home-made bomb packed with nuts and bolts.
She died, from multiple injuries, along with 21 others, seven of them aged under 18.
On Wednesday, her wicker coffin was followed by her heartbroken family and hundreds of tearful mourners for her funeral at Manchester Cathedral.
Her mother Lisa Roussos, 48, who was gravely injured herself, left hospital on Wednesday to perform the hardest task of any parent, saying goodbye to her child and in the most horrific circumstances.
Saffie’s wicker coffin, adorned with roses, arrived in a silver hearse at the cathedral followed by the funeral cortege from Wythenshawe Hospital, where Mrs Roussos is still receiving treatment for her injuries.
She emerged from the lead car, refusing the offer of a wheelchair, instead pausing, limping, but determined to walk into the cathedral for her daughter’s service, watched by dozens of well-wishers standing outside.
Her right arm in a sling and hand bandaged up, she carried a red rose in her other hand.
Saffie’s father, Andrew, 43, nodded to his son, Xander, 10, hugged by his stepsister Ashlee Bromwich, 23, and his wife, who replied with a weak smile.
Along with five others, Mr Roussos became a pallbearer for his daughter as her coffin was carried inside for the start of the service, just a few hundred yards from the scene of her death.
Hundreds of mourners were already inside, many carrying a single rose in memory of Saffie, a request from the family who invited anyone who had been touched by her to come to celebrate her short life.
A moving montage of photos, set to the music of Grande’s hit One Last Time, forming part of the funeral ceremony, was released by her family and friends.
The YouTube video clip shows a series of family snaps, Saffie happily playing with her brother Xander, smiling alongside her parents on family holidays, wearing make-up and dressing up.
Saffie’s friends hope the video, which will be shown at her funeral, will be liked and shared using the hashtag #Saffiethesuperstar to fulfil her dream of becoming a YouTube star.