A suicide bomber blew himself up during Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 and injuring at least 59
The mother of the first named victim, Georgina Callander, tearfully paid tribute to her daughter, who was among the 22 killed and at least 59 injured at Monday’s Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.
During a local vigil in Mark Square at Tarleton in Lancashire on Tuesday, Leslie Callander was joined by thousands of mourners who gathered close to the village of Hesketh Bank, where 18-year-old Georgina lived 40 miles northwest of Manchester. Callander was seen breaking down in tears as she laid a yellow flower in her child’s memory.
Georgina was the first victim publicly identified after the suicide bombing. The teen died in a hospital with her mother at her side, The Evening Standard reported. “She was always very open, would talk to everyone,” her friend Shelby Wharton, 17, told the newspaper. “She was so nice. It does not feel real. I just pray for her family.”
Callander was a big fan of Grande’s and was even photographed with the pop star, 23, at a concert two years ago. On Saturday, the teen, who attended Runshaw College in Leyland and previously attended Bishop Rawstorne Church of England Academy, tweeted that she was “so excited” to see Grande perform.
Tuesday’s vigil was a joint memorial for 8-year-old victim Saffie Rose Roussos, who also lived in the same village.
Saffie was initially missing in the wake of the explosion after she went to the show with her older sister Ashlee Bromwich and mother Lisa Roussos, according to The Telegraph. Ashlee and Lisa were reportedly in separate hospitals after the incident being treated for injuries.
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Chris Upton, the headteacher at the Tarleton Community Primary School, said in a statement to PEOPLE that Saffie’s death “has come as a tremendous shock.”
“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,” Upton said. “Saffie was quiet and unassuming with a creative flair.”
A third victim, a 26-year-old man named John Atkinson, has also been identified. Laura Atkinson, who is John’s sister, confirmed her brother’s death to PEOPLE.
Around the U.K., thousands gathered to lay flowers and light candles in memory of the victims who were tragically killed by the suicide bombing.
Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said the explosion occurred around 10:33 p.m. local time near the ticket office outside the arena. The attack was carried out by a lone suspect carrying a bomb, Hopkins said.
“The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena. We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, causing this atrocity,” Hopkins said.
He added, “We have been treating this as a terrorist incident and we believe, at this stage, the attack last night was conducted by one man. The priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.”
Following police confirmation of the number of deaths and injuries, Grande tweeted: “Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”