Pic courtesy BBC

A little girl from Leyland who was a massive Ariana Grande fan should have been celebrating her ninth birthday today.

Saffie Roussos was the youngest of the 22 people who tragically lost their lives during the attack on Manchester Arena following the Ariana Grande concert she had attended with her mother and sister.

This morning, Saffie’s father Andrew Roussos spoke to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire about his daughter, describing her as a “beautiful, stunning young lady who had confidence you wouldn’t believe”, and spoke of her love for Ariana Grande’s music.

He said that Saffie wanted to be famous just like her idol and was given the tickets for the concert as a Christmas present.

“Her heart was massive – huge – she was so soft and gentle on the inside, but so strong in what she wanted. She wanted to be famous, to be on stage,” he said.

When asked why he had chosen to display photos of Saffie during the TV interview, he said: “Saffie loved fame, to be on camera. A very forward little girl, she loved everything about it. Her idol was Ariana Grande. I knew that Saffie would love that… her pictures and to be spoken about on TV. As her dad, I wanted to do that for her.

“She wanted to be the most famous young girl in the world. I will try and do everything to make that happen for her.”

He has also spoken about how excited she was about the concert and that he was thankful she had managed to enjoy the entirety of Ariana Grande’s performance, as the attack did not take place until after the singer had finished.

Saffie was a pupil at Tarleton Primary School and lived with her family in Leyland, Lancashire.

Her sister and mother were also injured in the attack. Mother Lisa Roussos was in a coma initially and is still recovering from her injuries.

Andrew met Ariana Grande before her One Love Manchester tribute concert last month to tell the singer how much she meant to Saffie and that she should not blame herself for what happened.

Watch the interview on BBC iPlayer here from 08:12.

A fundraising and memorial event will take place in Leyland at the Hallmark Hotel on 22nd July at 12.30pm in support of the families of Saffie Rousoss and Georgina Callander, both from Tarleton, who died in the Arena bombing.

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