Saffie idols in pledge to per­form at char­ity party

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DANCE group Diver­sity will be one of many acts per­form­ing at Saffie Rose Rous­sos’ star-stud­ded 10th birth­day party.

The Tar­leton Com­mu­nity Pri­mary School pupil, who was the youngest per­son to die in the Manchester Arena bomb­ing in May last year, would have cel­e­brated her birth­day on July 4.

To mark the mile­stone, thou­sands of peo­ple are to at­tend Saffie’s Party In The Park in Wor­den Park, in Ley­land – in­clud­ing her par­ents, Andrew and Lisa Rous­sos.

The event will take place on Sun­day, July 8, and is ex­pected to run from 11am un­til 6pm.

The party has been or­gan­ised by Mike Swan­son, who has been a friend of the Rous­sos fam­ily for five years, with help from the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

One of Saffie’s favourite acts, dance troupe Diver­sity, who are best known for win­ning Bri­tain’s Got Talent in 2009, have con­firmed they will be per­form­ing.

Mike said: “I am ec­static. Diver­sity were one of Saffie’s idols.

“I know she would be smil­ing now, she would be re­ally happy they were com­ing to her birth­day party.

“When I told Andrew and the fam­ily, they said they were re­ally proud of me for ar­rang­ing this. They can’t wait to cel­e­brate.”

Ashley Banjo, a mem­ber of Diver­sity, tweeted: “I will gen­uinely do all I can to make it hap­pen. Hope­fully to­gether we can make it a great day for Saffie.”

Singer Rowetta, who has pre­vi­ously recorded and toured with the Happy Mon­days, is also set to per­form.

She said: “I’ve been asked to per­form at this beau­ti­ful lit­tle girl’s 10th birth­day party. We all re­mem­ber Saffie Rose Rous­sos. It’ll be an hon­our to sing for her fam­ily and friends.”

Mike also claims that more artists and dance troupes are yet to be con­firmed.

Other ac­tiv­i­ties on of­fer will in­clude mar­ket stalls, a chil­dren’s fun fair, char­ac­ter mas­cots, face paint­ing and an It’s A Knock­out tour­na­ment.

All money raised at the event, af­ter cov­er­ing costs, will be do­nated to good causes by the Rous­sos fam­ily.

Mike’s daughters, 11-year-old Lily and nineyear-old Grace, were two of Saffie’s best friends and they came up with the idea of throw­ing a party for her.

Mike, who owns SOS Com­put­ing, in Ley­land, ex­plained: “My daughters asked me what we were do­ing to cel­e­brate Saffie’s birth­day, and they came up with the idea of hav­ing a party.

“I sat down with Saffie’s fam­ily and we dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­ity, and they were re­ally en­thu­si­as­tic.

“This party will be all about cel­e­brat­ing life and re­mem­ber­ing Saffie at her hap­pi­est.”

Last year, Mike also ar­ranged to cel­e­brate Saffie’s birth­day by re­leas­ing bal­loons in Ley­land – where he was joined by 1,400 other peo­ple.

But, this year, the 39-year-old says he wants to “make a neg­a­tive into a positive, and give ev­ery­one some­thing to look for­ward to”.

The free-entry party aims to give some­thing back to the lo­cal com­mu­nity for the sup­port it has shown to the Rous­sos fam­ily since the in­ci­dent.

It is thought that about 15,000 peo­ple will at­tend, and each per­son is en­cour­aged to wear bright and colour­ful cloth­ing to the cel­e­bra­tion.

As the event is still be­ing or­gan­ised, Mike is ap­peal­ing to lo­cal peo­ple to vol­un­teer their time or re­sources to help in any way they can.

To learn more about how you can get in­volved, con­tact Mike via 01772 304 704. To find out more about the event, fol­low #SaffiesPar­tyinthePark on social me­dia.

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