Government needs to 'open its eyes' before more children are killed, says family of Manchester victim

Georgina Callander, who died in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack. PA
Georgina Callander, who died in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack. PA
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Manchester bombing victim Georgina Callander's family has warned the Government to "open its eyes" to the terror threat - or more parents could lose children.

Manchester bombing victim Georgina Callander's family has warned the Government to "open its eyes" to the terror threat - or more parents could lose children.

The 18-year-old was killed in the blast shortly after her favourite artist Ariana Grande left the stage at the Manchester Arena on Monday.

In a statement released through Greater Manchester Police, her family said the teenager's life had been cut short by "evil, evil men prepared to ruin lives and destroy families".

It added: "I wish I could say that Georgina is one of the last to die in this way but unless our Government opens its eyes we know we are only another in a long line of parents on a list that continues to grow."

Another family torn apart by the atrocity, that of 14-year-old victim Nell Jones, said they were "shattered" by her murder, but praised the response for restoring their "faith in humanity".

Schoolgirl Nell went to the concert with fellow pupil Freya Lewis, who was injured in the blast.

On Saturday, Freya's father praised the health service for saving his daughter, saying: "Awesome is as good as we can come up with, but that doesn't feel adequate."

Twenty-two people were killed and more than 100 injured when suicide attacker Salman Abedi detonated a device packed with shrapnel in the venue's foyer.

Miss Callander, from Chorley, was in her second year of studying health and social care at Runshaw College in Leyland, Lancashire.

She was "loving life", having recently passed her driving test, was "doing great" in her exams and had been accepted into Edge Hill University, the family said.

The family's statement said: "Her life was taken away after 18 short years by evil, evil men prepared to ruin lives and destroy families, for what?

"Georgina was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside, with a smile that was never ending.

"She always had big hugs for everyone and her life was blooming like the flowers she loved."

The family paid tribute to the "wonderful police and rescue services" and thanked the public, saying the "hugs, love and kind words" from the public had "a profound effect" on them.

Lesley Callander found her daughter on a stretcher as paramedics fought to save her life in the aftermath of the explosion.

She described her desperate efforts to bring comfort to the teenager's final moments to ITV news on Saturday.

"I was just screaming and shouting at her. I was rubbing her hands, I was rubbing her tummy, I was rubbing her face," she said.

"I don't know what was running through her mind.

"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 young music fan previously met Grande and posted a picture of the pair together on social media.

"She kept texting me telling me her tummy was turning over," her mother said.

"She was so, so excited."

Nell had been a pupil at the Holmes Chapel Comprehensive and Sixth Form in Cheshire, along with Freya.

In the statement released through GMP, Nell's family said: "We can't wrap our children in cotton wool. She was so excited to go to her first pop concert. She was singing in the car, all the way there.

"Even though she has been taken from us we've had 14 lovely years with her and that makes us happy.

"They were the best years. We were so lucky to have her.

"Our hearts have been shattered. We loved Nell so very much, she was our world."

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