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Heartbroken father of youngest Manchester bombing victim Saffie Roussos tells of constant painful reminders that forced them to sell the family chip shop

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 21/05/2018 Keiligh Baker

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 Video: Manchester Arena bombing one year on (Provided by Press Association)

The heartbroken father of the youngest Manchester Arena bomb victim has spoken for the first time - just a day before the first anniversary of the atrocity which killed 22 concert-goers. 

Saffie Roussos, aged eight, from Leyland, Lancashire, had attended the Ariana Grande concert on May 22, 2017, with her mother Lisa, 48, and her sister Ashlee Bromwich, 24.

She was killed when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his device. Her mother and sister both suffered serious injuries.

Saffie Roussos, aged eight, (pictured left) went to the Ariana Grande concert on May 22, 2017, with her mother Lisa, 48, and her sister Ashlee Bromwich, 24. Her father Andrew is pictured right carrying her flower-strewn coffin © Daily Mail Saffie Roussos, aged eight, (pictured left) went to the Ariana Grande concert on May 22, 2017, with her mother Lisa, 48, and her sister Ashlee Bromwich, 24. Her father Andrew is pictured right carrying her flower-strewn coffin After the attack Saffie's mother Lisa awoke from a coma to be told of her daughter's death.

Andrew Roussos, 44, father to Saffie and son Xander, 12, said the outpouring of love from the community kept his family going after the devastating loss - but that they felt that remaining in their old home brought back too many painful memories.

In the weeks that followed Abedi's suicide attack the family's chip shop business became a sea of floral tributes to the little girl.

However the family has since moved away from their home and chip shop The Plaice on Hough Lane, in Leyland, Lancashire, where Saffie played a 'massive part'.

The family said at the time that the chip shop held 'memories that are too difficult to bear'. 

a group of people posing for the camera: Saffie's mother Lisa Roussos, who was injured in the attack, and her brother Xander follow her coffin as they leave Manchester Cathedral following her funeral service last year © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Saffie's mother Lisa Roussos, who was injured in the attack, and her brother Xander follow her coffin as they leave Manchester Cathedral following her funeral service last year Devastated Mr Roussos said: 'Our life, our home and our business were in Leyland and Saffie was such a huge character and a massive part of it. To go back to that without her and to have those constant memories would have been too hard.

'Saffie spent a lot of time with customers and was known and loved in the Hough Lane area of Leyland.

'Even walking around Tesco would have been difficult as the aisles are the same and we would have been expecting to see Saffie at every corner.

'We don't ever want to forget Saffie but being in Leyland the memories would have been too painful. Our job in the fish and chip shop was also a demanding one and we could not have gone back to that after Lisa's injuries.

a group of people standing next to a person in a suit and tie: Mr Roussos is pictured arriving for Saffie's funeral service at Manchester Cathedral © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Mr Roussos is pictured arriving for Saffie's funeral service at Manchester Cathedral 'We just wanted a fresh start - not to start again. Because there is no starting over after something like this - but to move away somewhere new and do our best to support each other.'

Speaking about the agony of making sense of Saffie's tragic loss Mr Roussos said his family had 'seen the worst of human nature with what happened.'

However he added: 'There are a lot of good people out there and we have been overwhelmed by the love and support people have shown.

'When an atrocity like this happens and people say: 'This is wrong and we will support you' it is a lovely feeling and it does help you in your darkest hours.

'We could not have done without the public and the support we have had from the community of Leyland, Lancashire, Manchester and beyond.

a group of people wearing costumes: Paying tribute to his daughter Mr Roussos said: 'Saffie was the sort of person who just stopped people in their tracks. She was a beautiful and stunning young lady and not a day went by when we weren't stopped by people complimenting her' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Paying tribute to his daughter Mr Roussos said: 'Saffie was the sort of person who just stopped people in their tracks. She was a beautiful and stunning young lady and not a day went by when we weren't stopped by people complimenting her' 'The support has been heartfelt and genuine and has come from right across the world. Nothing will ever bring Saffie back but knowing the public is behind you restores your faith in human nature.

'It is lovely to know people were touched by Saffie and to feel their love for her.'

The heartbroken father is full of pride and praise for his son Xander who he says has shown a strength and maturity that belies his years.

Saffie had a wicked sense of humour and this magic of capturing people. She had this special something about her. Saffie ruled our household - and she still does. We talk about Saffie all the time. We want to keep Saffie's spirit alive so she is with us all the time 

Mr Roussos said: 'Xander at the age of 12 has had to move to a new area, left behind his friends and started a new school - all on top of losing his baby sister.

'What happened is going to affect him for the rest of his life but he is keeping his chin up the best he can. Xander is a remarkable young man and we are very proud of him.

'We draw strength from each other.'

Vigil in St Ann's Square, Manchester, during the days following the 22 May 2017, suicide bombing, carried out at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, following a concert by American singer Ariana Grande. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/ UIG via Getty Images) © Getty Vigil in St Ann's Square, Manchester, during the days following the 22 May 2017, suicide bombing, carried out at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, following a concert by American singer Ariana Grande. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/ UIG via Getty Images) Paying tribute to his daughter Mr Roussos said: 'Saffie was the sort of person who just stopped people in their tracks.

'She was a beautiful and stunning young lady and not a day went by when we weren't stopped by people complimenting her.

'Saffie had a wicked sense of humour and this magic of capturing people. She had this special something about her. Saffie ruled our household - and she still does. We talk about Saffie all the time. We want to keep Saffie's spirit alive so she is with us all the time.'

Saffie was one of the 22 people killed when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated a rucksack packed with explosives one year ago.

More than 800 people were injured when the bomber blew himself up sending shrapnel flying as concert-goers tried to leave. 

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