Leyland firm offers free coach travel to Saffie's funeral

The funeral of Saffie  the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena terror attack will be held in Manchester tomorow.
The funeral of Saffie the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena terror attack will be held in Manchester tomorow.

A travel firm is offering free transport to the funeral of bombing victim Saffie Roussos.

The funeral of Saffie – the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena terror attack –will be held in Manchester tomorow.

And Leyland firm Avagroup is offering free coach travel from the town, after drivers volunteered to work for free.

The company put out a message on its Facebook page adding: “The loss of Saffie Rose Roussos has touched all our lives and hearts.

“If any of the family, friends or residents of South Ribble would like to pay their respects, AvaCoach are providing two coaches with a capacity for 100 mourners.”

The coaches will meet at Tesco Towngate, Leyland at 11.30am.

Kevin Yates, the firm’s transport manager, said yesterday; “There are a few places still available on coach two.

“Of course, we’ve got quite a few of the drivers wanted to do it free of charge and the owners said yes – it was the right thing to do.

“We did a lot of free taxis on the night of the vigil at Worden Park.

“We’ll always help out when it’s a community thing like this, the drivers will help.”

The funeral will take place at Manchester Cathedral at 1.45pm tomorrow.

People are asked to wear colourful clothing. and those wishing to take flowers are asked to take along a single rose – Saffie’s middle name.

Saffie’s father Andrew has anyone who wants to to record a 10-15 second video clip of what she meant to those who knew her, to be shown at the funeral.

Folk have been asked to make their clips for a video that has been put together that is ‘uplifting a bit funny and full of good memories not sorrow’.

with up to three words at the end to describe the youngster.

Those travelling to Manchester are being helped with transport.

Leyland-based travel operator Avacab, Avacoach, AvaBus and Leyland Taxis are offering free travel.

Their drivers have volunteered for the trip and the owners of Avagroup are providing the vehicles and covering all other expenses.

“It went hand in hand to offer free coaches because there’s quite a lot of friends and family in this area and they would have struggled to get to Manchester.”

Saffie, a Tarleton Community Primary School pupil was the youngest victim of the atrocity at the Ariana Grande concert - which she attended with her mother Lisa Roussos, 48, and older sister Ashlee Bromwich, who were both badly injured - in May.

Just a few weeks ago hundreds gathered outside her parents’ chip shop in Leyland to mark what would have been her ninth birthday.

Balloons were released in her memory and a mini funfair was held as part of the celebration of her life.

Her father Andrew said: “We’ve lost everything. “We have, we’ve lost everything, because life will just never be the same.”

Saffie’s mum Lisa Roussos, 48 required hospital treatment for the injuries she sustained in the attack which killed 22 people.

She has undergone several operations.

Saffie’s funeral will be the last of those who died in the terrorist attack.

Saffie, who loved dancing, gymnastics and music, was one of the first to be publicly identified in the days after the attack.

In a statement released after her death, Saffie’s school she said was loved by everyone.

Chris Upton, the headteacher, said in a statement: “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.

“The thought that anyone could go out to a concert and not come home is heartbreaking.”