Funeral held for youngest victim of Manchester attack

Pall bearers carry the coffin of Manchester Arena bomb victim Saffie-Rose Roussos prior to the funeral service at Manchester Cathedral in Manchester, northwest England, on July 26, 2017. Eight-year-old Saffie Roussos was one of 22 people, seven of them aged under 18, murdered in the terror attack as fans streamed out of Manchester Arena following an Ariana Grande pop concert on May 22, 2017. Roussos the youngest victim of the attack, from Leyland, Lancashire, was a huge fan of the US singer and got tickets for the event as a Christmas present from her parents. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS

Mourners carrying roses paid their last respects on Wednesday to eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos, the youngest of the 22 victims of the Manchester Arena bomb attack.

Her mother Lisa Roussos, who was badly injured in the attack, attended the funeral with her arm still in a cast at Manchester Cathedral in northwest England.

Saffie’s father Andrew was one of the bearers of the wicker casket, which was adorned with roses.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and city police chief Ian Hopkins were also among the mourners in what was the final funeral from the tragedy.

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi, a British Muslim of Libyan origin, blew himself up outside one of the arena exits after a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande, who is popular with teens and pre-teens.

Seven of the victims were under 18 years old.

Although the attack was claimed by the Islamic State group, police believe Abedi acted largely alone.

In Tarleton, the village where Roussos and her brother went to school, streets were decorated with pink ribbons tied to gate posts and lamp posts.

During the funeral service, her headteacher Chris Upton remembered her as an ardent Ariana Grande fan.

“The irony of this tragedy is that the concert was a wonderful experience for her,” he said, paying tribute to her “quiet confidence” and enthusiasm.

“As you leave the cathedral today, try and be a little bit more like Saffie — ambitious, good-humoured, loving and passionate,” he said.

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