The first victims identified in the suicide bombing after an Ariana Grande concert in Britain were an 8-year-old remembered as a “beautiful little girl” and an 18-year-old college student who had previously met her pop idol.
They were among the 22 killed Monday night at the Manchester Arena in the deadliest terror attack in Britain since 2005. Another 59 people were also injured as the suspect detonated a bomb near one of the venue’s exits, sending the mostly younger concertgoers fleeing in panic, authorities said.
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Grande’s fans are predominantly teens and young girls, and many had gone to the venue with their parents for a night of carefree fun that in a flash turned into a scene of carnage. Hours after the bloodshed, desperate parents said they were still trying unsuccessfully to reconnect with children.
The victims have been confirmed so far as:
Saffie Rose Roussos, 8
Saffie was a student at the Tarleton Community Primary School, located northwest of Manchester. Local officials in a written statement provided to NBC News said the community was reeling after learning such a young and innocent life was lost.
“News of Saffie’s death in this appalling attack has come as a tremendous shock to all of us and I would like to send our deepest condolences to all of her family and friends,” said Chris Upton, the head teacher at Tarleton Community. “The thought that anyone could go out to a concert and not come home is heartbreaking.”
He added that Saffie “was simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word. She was loved by everyone and her warmth and kindness will be remembered fondly.”
Georgina Callander, 18
Callender was studying health and social care in her second year at Runshaw College in Lancashire, the school said. She was remembered for her outgoing personality.
“Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers go out to all of Georgina’s friends, family, and all of those affected by this loss,” the college posted on Facebook.
Her former school, Bishop Rawstorne Church of England Academy, called Callander “a lovely young student who was very popular with her peers and the staff and always made the most of the opportunities she had at the school.”
On social media, Callander was enamored by movie and television stars and pop singers — Grande was among her favorites.
Two years ago, she got to meet her while attending Grande’s “The Honeymoon Tour” at the Manchester Arena. She shared photos on Instagram and gushed over how nice Grande was to her.
“I HUGGED HER SO TIGHT AND SHE SAID SHE LOVED MY BOW I CANT GET OVER THIS I NEVER WILL,” Callander captioned her picture.
“Once Upon a Time” actress Karen David had met Callender just two weeks ago at a fan convention and shared her memory of the teen on Instagram.
“It makes me so angry and it breaks my heart that such a young and promising life has been stolen away!” David wrote, adding, “Dearest Georgina, may your kind soul rest in peace. Heaven has gained an angel.”