Blackpool Illuminations designer works on special tribute to Saffie
An extra special star will shine this Christmas in memory of a tragic youngster killed in the Manchester Arena bombing.
Eight-year-old Saffie Roussos was the youngest victim of the terrorist attack in May.
The pink star is being designed by lighting supremo Richard Ryan - head of the world-famous Blackpool Illuminations.
It will sit on a real tree in Saffie’s hometown Leyland as a touching tribute to the eight-year-old, one of 22 people killed as they left an Ariana Grande concert.
Preparations are under way for this year’s Leyland Christmas Festival when crowds flock to the town centre for the traditional lights switch-on in November.
Organisers, the Leyland Town Team, have revealed plans for the star to be placed in the tree outside The Plaice fish and chip shop, Hough Lane, run by Saffie’s family.
Mr Ryan has worked with the town team on its Christmas lights in the past.
Martin Carlin, of the town team, said: “It’s something the town team wanted to do. It’s Saffie’s star. Every time someone sees it they’ll know what it’s all about. I spoke to Richard last Friday and he said he’s got a design in mind.”
He said he expected Saffie’s parents, Andrew and Lisa Roussos, to be at the festival.
“I’m hoping Andrew and Lisa Roussos will make an appearance. I think he wants to say a few thank-yous, as I believe,” said Mr Carlin.
Mr Ryan said: “We’ve done Leyland lights for a number of years with them, and the big roundabout there, that’s one of my designs. When I was told about this, I thought it was something we’d want to help with. We’re working on it, doing a commemorative star and that’s been discussed and agreed for some time.”
Mr Ryan said the star was in Saffie’s favourite colours - “pink and twinkly”. He said it was made of aluminium with a variety of coloured LED lighting.
“It’s going to be very clear and bright to see and it will illuminate and twinkle,” he said.
Mr Ryan said Mr Carlin gave him a brief for the design following conversations with Saffie’s parents. He said: “I’m very proud to be doing it on behalf of everyone involved.”
Saffie’s parents have reluctantly decided to sell the shop, but hope whoever buys it will rename it Saffie’s Plaice.
Councillor Peter Mullineaux, leader of South Ribble Council, said: “I’d like to thank the Leyland Town Team for making this happen. Saffie will never be forgotten and now the people of Leyland will be able to celebrate her memory every Christmas by looking at her special star.”