The father of Saffie Roussos, the youngest of the 22 people killed in the Manchester Arena bombing, received a standing ovation as he gave an incredibly moving speech about his ‘world class’ daughter and the impact of the tragedy on his family.
Saffie Roussos was just eight years old when she died after the attack on May 22 last year.
Speaking at the annual Once Upon A Smile Grand Ball, Saffie's father Andrew Roussos paid tribute to his little girl, and the strength of his son Xander and wife Lisa.
In his first public speech he thanked the charity, founded by Emmerdale star Danny Miller and actor Daniel Jillings to support bereaved families, for the support provided to them.
Remembering Saffie he said: “My angel. She came, she smiled, she captured hearts. “She was a dream come true. She turned heads wherever she went. Everybody just wanted to stop and comment on how beautiful she was."
Andrew then introduced Saffie’s older brother Xander to the stage to rapturous applause and another standing ovation and said “if anyone in this country deserves to stand on this stage it’s not me it’s him.”
Honouring his son, who earlier in the evening walked the red carpet with charity founders Danny and Daniel, he said: “He took it all on the chin and from that day forward has been a legend. His support and cuddles have been amazing. He’s done that at the same time he’s started a new school with new friends. His teachers say he’s an inspiration.”
Gesturing towards his wife in the room, who was leaving the show with Saffie and older daughter Ashlee when the explosion occurred, he said: “My beautiful wife. To be in a coma for weeks to wake up and find out the news about Saffie, to have eight operations, get out of bed and stand and walk again and never once moan and complain to be sitting here 11 months on in three inch heels looking stunning as you do, who am I to give up?”
Thanking the charity he said the family from Leyland, Lancashire have now moved down south but they have still gone out of their way to be there for them and have travelled to spend time with Xander.