Diversity heading to Leyland for Saffie's Party In The Park

Stars and celebrities are lining up to appear at a huge celebration event at Lancashire's Worden Park to mark the 10th birthday of Saffie Roussos who was the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena terror attack.AASMA DAY finds out more about the community event being spearheaded by Saffie's friends to celebrate the youngster's life.

Tuesday, 5th June 2018, 3:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th June 2018, 4:32 pm

Diversity dance group have confirmed they will be performing at Saffie’s Party In The Park in Leyland to honour the life of eight-year-old Saffie Roussos.

To mark what should have been the 10th birthday of the youngster who died in last year’s Manchester Arena terror attack, her family and friends want to create happy memories by holding a huge community event in Saffie’s memory.

Saffie’s Party In The Park will be held on Sunday July 8 at Worden Park in Leyland and is centred around bringing families and the community together in a celebration of life.

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Blackpool Lights switch-on ceremony. Diversity switch on the Lights. PIC BY ROB LOCK 1-9-2017

The event is being organised by Mike Swanson, a close friend of Saffie’s family and his daughters Lily, 11 and Grace, nine, who were among Saffie’s best friends are helping lead the party plans to commemorate Saffie’s birthday.

Diversity, the dance troupe who won Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, were idolised by Saffie and the group have confirmed they will be attending Saffie’s Party.

Mike Swanson, who owns SOS Computing in Leyland near the fish and chip shop where Saffie lived with her family, says: “Saffie was a big fan of Diversity and used to love copying their dance moves.

“It is lovely that Diversity have offered to perform at Saffie’s Party In The Park for free as it is something that is close to their heart.

“They have said they would love to do it for Saffie and the community.”

Ashley Banjo, Diversity star said on Twitter: “I will genuinely do all I can to make it happen. Hopefully together we can make it a great day for Saffie.”

Singer Rowetta, who is best known for her work with Happy Mondays, has also confirmed she will be appearing at Saffie’s Party In The Park.

Rowetta, who was also the last lady standing finishing fourth in the first series of The X Factor in 2004, says: “I’ve been asked to perform at this beautiful little girl’s 10th birthday party.

“We all remember Saffie Rose Roussos.

“It’ll be an honour to sing for her family and friends.”

Mike says: “Rowetta sang in Manchester on May 22 and she told us that Saffie’s Party In The Park is a celebration of life and she would love to sing at it.”

The Manchester Survivors Choir and dance act Rise who appeared on this year’s Britain’s Got Talent have also confirmed they will be attending Saffie’s Party.

Purcell Drama Academy and Aim2B dance group will be providing entertainment on the day too.

Mike says: “It is incredible how Saffie’s Party In The Park is gathering pace.

“We are wanting stars who meant something to Saffie and her age group to get involved.

“This event is all about giving something back to the community and the public as they are the ones who helped Saffie’s family and friends when they needed it most.”

Saffie’s dad Andrew Roussos who has moved down south with wife Lisa and their family as it was too painful to remain in Leyland, says Saffie would have loved the idea of lots of people getting together to have a great time for her birthday.

He says: “What little girl wouldn’t love a massive birthday party organised by her best friends?

Rise Unbroken, with Hollie Booth pictured centre. Picture: ITV.

“Saffie’s Party In The Park is all about the community having a good time to celebrate Saffie’s life.”

Saffie’s Party In The Park will feature a fairground and an It’s A Knockout competition and organisers are hoping to confirm many more stars.

Mike says: “I have had a number of other families of the 22 angels approach me to say they that they think this is a fantastic way to celebrate their lost ones and they want to join in the fun on the day.

“The fire brigade, police and British Transport Police have all got in touch too saying they want an It’s A Knockout team.

“My daughters Lily and Grace have teamed up with Jess, Saffie’s friend from Tarleton Primary School and other friends and they are coming up with lots of ideas to make this event a wonderful celebration of Saffie’s life.

“It will hopefully be a family fun day to remember.”

• Mike is looking for anyone who can help or volunteer in any way to get in touch. He is looking for stewards, security guards, toilets and anything that can promote the rose theme in honour of Saffie.

If anyone can help in any way, they should e-mail: [email protected] or call: 01772 304704.

Saffie Roussos and Grace Swanson on a ride together
Saffie Roussos with her friends Lily and Grace Swanson
Saffie Rose Roussos
Saffie's Party In The Park poster
Saffie Roussos, eight, the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena terror attack
Saffie Roussos, eight, the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena terror attack
Saffie Roussos, eight, the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena terror attack
LEP - LEYLAND 15-05-18 Mike Swanson with daughters Lily, 11, and Grace, nine, right, remembering the good times they had with Saffie, they are close friends with the family of Saffie Roussos, the youngest victim of the Manchester terror attack. It's near the first anniversary of the bombing and they are organising a fun day and community event to mark what would have been Saffie's 10th birthday to celebrate her life.