Tributes flow for first victims of Manchester terror attack

Georgina Callander, 18, a victim of the suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, posted a picture of ...
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Georgina Callander, 18, a victim of the suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, posted a picture of herself with the American popstar on her Instagram account two years ago.

Tributes are flowing for the first-named victims of the suicide bombing at Manchester Arena.

Saffie Rose Roussos, 8, Georgina Callander, 18 and John Atkinson, 28, have been confirmed as the first three confirmed deaths after an attack after an Ariana Grande concert, which has been claimed by Islamic State.

The 18-year-old, who was known to her friends as Gina, was a devoted fan of the US pop star, having met her in June 2015.

Georgina Callander, 18, was one of the 22 people killed at the concert attack.
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Georgina Callander, 18, was one of the 22 people killed at the concert attack.

On Instagram, Georgina posted a photo of their meeting with the caption: "She was so cute and lovely. I hugged her so tight and she said she loved my bow. I can't get over this, I never will."

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The teenager, from Whittle-le-Woods in Lancashire, was a student at Runshaw College in Leyland.

Eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos has been confirmed as one of the 22 killed in the Manchester Arena bombing.

Eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos has been confirmed as one of the 22 killed in the Manchester Arena bombing.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the college expressed its "enormous sadness" at the news of her death.

"It is with enormous sadness that it appears that one of the people who lost their lives in Monday's Manchester attack was one of our students here at Runshaw College," the statement says.

"Georgina Callander was a former Bishop Rawstorne pupil studying with us on the second year of her health and social care course.

"Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers go out to all of Georgina's friends, family, and all of those affected by this loss. We are offering all available support possible at this tragic time, including counselling with our dedicated student support team."

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Meanwhile, friends posted tributes to the teenager on Twitter, saying she was a "beautiful girl with the kindest heart and soul".

One friend wrote: "I love you so incredibly much, you deserved the world & more. I'm so lucky to have met you and known you."

Karen David, an actor in US television series Once Upon a Time who had met Georgina several weeks ago, expressed her shock and disbelief.

'BEAUTIFUL SOUL'

It is understood Atkinson, from Radcliffe, north of Manchester, had been leaving the venue when it was targeted by the suicide bomber.

Friends and family have paid their respects online, describing him as an 'amazing young man'.

Lee Paul posted on Facebook: "Sleep tight John Atkinson. Thoughts and prayers with all your family and the other 21 people who lost there lives last night."

Tracey Crolla wrote: "Thinking of all the Atkinsons at this very sad time John Atkinson you turned into an amazing young man so kind and thoughtful you will be missed by everyone x x."

Nana Julie Mills said: "Just heard one of my good friends whom I've known since he was a little boy passed away last night. Condolences to his family and friends. RIP John Atkinson."

Taliè Andrèa branded John 'a beautiful soul'.

She added: "Heartbroken for the Atkinson family at this sad time never would I imagine this happening so close to home. Rest in paradise John you beautiful soul."

Tracey Sagar posted: "RIP John Atkinson. Thoughts and prayers to your family. What a mad, sad world."

Nicola Jade Greenhalgh wrote on Facebook: "Just heard the news and I got goosebumps all over my body RIP John such a sick world we live in my thoughts are with all the Atkinson family today can't even think straight today."

'CREATIVE FLAIR'

Roussos, from Leyland in Lancashire, who was attending the concert with her Mum and sister died of her injuries after the terrorist attack.

In a statement released this afternoon, Tarleton Community Primary School headteacher, Chris Upton said: "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".

"The thought that anyone could go out to a concert and not come home is heartbreaking. 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. Saffie was quiet and unassuming with a creative flair.

"Our focus is now on helping pupils and staff cope with this shocking news and we have called in specialist support from Lancashire County Council to help us do that.

"We are a tight-knit school and wider community and will give each other the support that we need at this difficult time."

Roussos' parents are believed to run a fish and chip shop.

Roussos' mum and sister are being treated for shrapnel injuries in separate hospitals.

Other families have taken to social media pleading for information about their missing loved ones, with mother Charlotte Campbell still searching for her 15-year-old daughter Olivia.

The blast carried out by a lone suicide bomber who detonated an improvised explosive device in the foyer of Manchester Arena has claimed at least 22 lives and injured 59 people. The explosion rocked the arena as teenagers, pre-teens and their parents were streaming out of the arena after the concert.

The singer was not injured and has sent her condolences in a tweet saying: "broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words."

It seems Ariana Grande's tour has been postponed indefinitely due to the bombing. She was set to play in New Zealand in September, but the promoters of her shows here have not yet made an announcement.

- Stuff, Agencies

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