Saffie’s dad pays emotional tribute to his ‘superstar’

Andrew Roussos, 43, and  Xander hold the coffin of Saffie Roussos. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Andrew Roussos, 43, and Xander hold the coffin of Saffie Roussos. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
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Saffie Roussos’ father has paid an emotional tribute to his ‘superstar’ daughter.

Giving the eulogy at her funeral in Manchester Cathedral, Andrew Roussos described her as a “superstar in the maing”.

Lisa Roussos and  Xander. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Lisa Roussos and Xander. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

He told the hundreds of mourners who packed out the cathedral: “I am honoured to be her dad, honoured.

“She was a superstar in the making. To become something in life you need to have the spark, that charisma, that something.

“Saffie had that, she truly had that. She knew what she was and she knew what she wanted.

“All that she asked of us is that we were there for her.

Saffie Roussos, eight, the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena terror attack

Saffie Roussos, eight, the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena terror attack

“She had everything going for her.

“I want to promise something to Saffie, with the help of friends and family. Saffie’s dream was to be famous.

“I want to make Saffie the most famous girl in the world.”

Dozens of blue and green balloons filled the sky in Tarleton to honour eight-year-old Saffie Roussos - read more

At eight years old Saffie was the youngest victim of suicide bomber Salman Abedi on May 22.

He set off his explosive killing himself and taking 22 people with him as crowds were leaving an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.

Mourners to the funeral carried roses as a symbol for Saffie, whose middle name is Rose. Her coffin, made of wicker, was adorned with roses and was carried in to the song Faith by Stevie Wonder.

In a prayer by canon pastor of the cathedral The Rev Marcia Wall said: “Let not the manner of her death cloud the goodness of her life.” She also prayed for the Roussos family: “Sustain them in their anguish and in the darkness of their grief extend your love.”

Saffie’s older sister Ashlee, who had been with Saffie at the concert when the bomb went off, had written a letter to Saffie which was read out at the service.

It said: “I close my eyes and I see your face, your smile beaming. I imagine your tiny hand in mine. You loved to entertain and to keep us always smiling.”

She continued: “I wish I could do you justice with my words but how can it be enough.

“You give love and life a whole different meaning.”

Almost 1,000 people came to this afternoon’s funeral with friends, family, members of the public and paramedics all in attendance.

The mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham and chief constable of Greater Manchester Police Ian Hopkins were also present.

A Bible reading from the book of Matthew was read out. It spoke of people becoming like little children to enter the kingdom of God.

In his brief sermon the dean of Manchester Roger Govender urged Saffie’s friends and family to continue to share their stories about her.

“We share to keep her memory alive,” he said. “All these wonderful things that this young girl has shared about growing up and enjoying life and making friends and making people happy.

“We ought ourselves to be inspired by her young life. She has lost her life in very tragic circumstances.

“It is as we spread the love that we will be able to defeat the hatred and violence that we have experienced.

“May she rest in peace and rise in glory.”

Chris Upton, headteacher at Tarleton Community Primary School, where Saffie was a pupil, also addressed the congregation.

He spoke of her fearlessness, ambition, her sense of humour and how she admired her idol Ariana Grande.

He also told stories of how Saffie would dance and perform back flips for the camera, leave notes on her mum Lisa’s pillow to tell her how much she loved her, play with her dog Binky and how she liked to put empty yogurt pots in her brother Xander’s shoes as a joke.

“The irony of this tragedy is that this concert was a wonderful experience for Saffie,” he said. “Lisa watched her sing every song, dance every dance.”

In a video, Saffie’s school friends, teachers and cousins all paid tribute to her saying she was funny, beautiful, funny, bouncy, excitable, strong, determined and kind.

The tributes finished with a clip of Saffie singing along to Ed Sheeran’s Galway Girl.

Later during the funeral the congregation watched a photo montage of Saffie in silence.

Ariana Grande’s track One Last Time played in the background.

Mourners wiped tears from their eyes and couples comforted each other.

Finally the Dean of Manchester prayed over Saffie and led the procession out of the Cathedral to a recording of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, sung by the choir from Tarleton Community Primary School.

Andrew, who was one of those carrying Saffie’s coffin has his arm round his son Xander as they made their way outside.

As friends, family and members of the public filed out they lay their roses at the memorial cross in the cathedral grounds.

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