Saffie idols in pledge to perform at charity party
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.