‘Georgina was just a normal little girl, not a bad bone in her body... she Family pay emotional gave so much tribute to teenager love and had so killed by bomber much more to give’
THE parents of a teenager murdered in the Manchester Arena attack told of their pain and anger as they gave evidence to a public inquiry.
Georgina Callander was aged just 18 when she died in the terror attack after a concert by Ariana Grande, the singer she adored.
Dad Simon Callander said he hoped bomber Salman Abedi “rots in the deepest, darkest part of hell” and Georgina’s mum Leslie stated: “I wish it would have been me, and not her.”
Mr Callander said “evil” Salman Abedi had “snatched away” the potential of his daughter, who “gave so much love and had so much more to give”.
He tearfully told the public inquiry into the attack that Georgina drove to the Ariana Grande concert on May 22 2017 in her first car after completing her exams.
Miss Callander, from Hesketh Bank, was enjoying the independence that a car and a part-time job provided as she looked ahead to studying at university, he explained.
In an emotional video tribute he outlined her life from the day she was born, April 1 1999, to the fateful day when Abedi killed her and 21 others by detonating a bomb at the end of the concert.
He said: “This little bundle of joy became the glue that held our family together.
“Bright as a button, heart as big as the moon, funny, caring, warm and always laughing. Every day I hear that laugh, it’s like she is still here.
“To this day I stand in the window looking for her, walking back down the road after school.
“Sometimes other school kids remind me of her for a second but no, that’s not my Georgina.”
He described how she “absolutely loved” working part-time at the local Booths supermarket where she “made the deli counter her own”.
Mr Callander said: “Lots of people came up to me and said what a lovely, pleasant girl she was and how proud I should be.”
Then she passed her driving test first time and “couldn’t wait to get on the road” with her new car which she affectionately called Peggy, the hearing at Manchester Magistrates’ Court was told.
Mr Callander said: “Peggy would unfortunately be Georgina’s one and only car. She even drove to the concert that night to watch Ariana Grande.
“You can’t imagine how excited she was. Just a normal little girl, not a bad bone in her body, never hurt anyone, she gave so much love and had so much more to give.”
Miss Callander was “over the moon” when she was accepted on a paediatric nursing course at Edge Hill University, he said.
He went on: “Sadly she never got to go and she never got to see her exam results. She got all distinctions.
“When they arrived in the post it was another dagger to the heart. All that hard work for nothing.
“All that potential snatched away by an evil person who did not even know her or care about my little girl.
“A person who did not know what a very special person he was about to murder. I hope he rots in the deepest, darkest part of hell.
“I am so proud to stand here and say I am Georgina’s dad. She changed my life and I will never get over losing her.
“Her smile lasted forever, her smile I can picture every day. Her laughter that once echoed all over the house has gone.
“For me things have changed so much. My life is unrecognisable from what it was. Such a massive hole is left.
“Ill health, divorce, a black cloud that follows me constantly, sometimes it feels like it is going to swallow me up.
“I can see Georgina in everything. Sometimes I can hear her when the house is quiet. I find myself talking to her and chuckle to myself but then sadness takes over.
Earlier, Mrs Callander’s mother told the hearing of how she wished she would have died instead.
In a highly emotive video tribute, she said her daughter’s murder had turned her life into a ‘daily, living nightmare’.
She said: “I am nothing without my Georgina. Everything has been taken away from me, in a nanosecond.”
Mrs Callander described Ariana Grande ‘superfan’ Georgina as ‘like a beautiful melody’ who ‘lit up the room with her famous smile’.
But she said her life had ‘completely fallen apart, never to be repaired’ after her daughter’s death.
In the video interview shown at the inquiry last Wednesday, she said: “I find it excruciatingly hard to live without my Georgina.
“I wish it would have been me, and not her. For me, it’s a daily living nightmare.
“I miss our cuddles, which she gave me at least 50 of a day, and I miss our girly chats.”
Georgina was in her second year studying health and social care at