Friends and neighbours of little Saffie Roussos will release balloons later today to mark the ninth birthday of the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena bomb.
The poignant ceremony outside the family’s fish and chip shop in Leyland will celebrate a life so cruelly cut short by a terrorist attack which killed 22.
Saffie’s father Andrew, sister Ashlee and brother Zander also marked the day by appearing on national TV to talk about the “huge character” they had lost.
“We didn’t just want to let her birthday pass,” said Andrew. “Saffie loved the limelight and we just wanted to celebrate her life.”
Saffie’s grieving family are not expected to be at the balloon release at 7.30pm in Hough Lane. Mum Lisa is still in hospital recovering from the serious injuries she suffered in the blast.
Family friend Mike Swanson said: “She went back into surgery yesterday to rebuild her arm, so she is facing another tough couple of weeks.
“The family have spent a lot of time with her in hospital and they haven’t really had the time to grieve properly.”
Andrew told the BBC today: “We have lost everything, because life will never be the same.
“Saffie was a joker, she was a huge character. She was everything you could wish for in a little girl.
“I know that Saffie would lover her pictures to be on and be spoken about on TV.”
• Hough Lane will be closed to traffic from 4.30pm to 9pm between the Queen Street and Ruskin Avenue junctions.