The mother of a teenage ‘superfan’ killed in the Manchester Arena terror attack has spoken of her desperate efforts to comfort her as she lay dying.
Georgina Callander – who had been previously photographed with US singer Ariana Grande – was killed in the blast shortly after the star left the stage.
Her mother Lesley, who found her daughter on a stretcher, told ITV news: “They [paramedics] were working, doing resuscitation and getting her down the stairs.
“I was just screaming and shouting at her. I was rubbing her hands, I was rubbing her tummy, I was rubbing her face.” She added: “It was just a flicker of hope that she’d move her hand or move her leg or try and open her eyes a little, just to acknowledge that I was there, just to let me know that she was very, very poorly but she knew that I was there.”
The 18-year-old from Hesketh Bank, Lancashire, had been desperately excited about attending Monday night’s concert.
“She kept texting me telling me her tummy was turning over,” said Mrs Callander. “She was so, so excited.”
Georgina’s father Simon said he was wracked with guilt for not being with his daughter that evening.
“I should have been there to hold her hand, when she was lying there,” he said.
Meanwhile, the father of a schoolgirl who survived the devastating blast paid tribute to the work of the paramedics and hospital staff who cared for her.
Freya Lewis went to the venue with her friend Nell Jones, who was killed.
Her father Nick Lewis said the youngster had returned from her second major operation, which removed shrapnel from the “many wounds” she had suffered.
The Year 9 pupil is to be gradually taken off sedatives and will then regain consciousness, he added.
In a statement released through her Cheshire school, Holmes Chapel, he said: “Then the real challenge starts as we discover how she is psychologically, and we start to help her process what has happened over the past few days.
“Words cannot really describe our thoughts about the staff and the care Freya is receiving here.
“Awesome is as good as we can come up with, but that doesn’t feel adequate.
“We have nothing but the utmost respect for all of the professionals that have been caring for Freya and our family over the past few days.
“Our thoughts and love are with the family and friends of Nell. This lovely young girl, Freya’s friend with whom she went to the concert, died at the scene.
“Our pain is unimaginable, but even we cannot begin to understand where Nell’s family are finding the strength to deal with their loss, in such tragic circumstances.
“We have been in contact with Nell’s family and take great comfort from the very dignified way in which they have come together as a very close family.”