First victim in manchester bombing is identified
MANCHESTER BOMBING - Georgina Bethany Callander, an 18-year-old health and social care student with a big open smile and a love of pop music, became the first known victim of the Manchester attack to be named on Tuesday, after a night of frantic searching by loved ones for their missing relatives.
Ms. Callander’s Instagram account showed a young and joyful woman who appeared to adore animals and Disney films. She had also posted a photograph of her driver’s license, which she received in December 2016. News reports said she had died with her mother at her bedside. Old photographs on social media showed her posing wearing glasses and braces.
She was a student at Runshaw College in Lancashire, northwest England, where college administrators expressed their “enormous sadness” and said they would be offering counseling to students. “Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers go out to all of Georgina’s friends, family, and all of those affected by this loss,” they wrote in a statement on Facebook.
Ms. Callander was a fan of the British bands Fifth Harmony and One Direction. On her Instagram account she named “Beauty and the Beast” and “Captain America” as her favorite films, and “Wicked,” which she saw in London in September 2015, as her favorite musical.
Her social media accounts showed a young and idealistic woman who was socially conscious. She had expressed her distaste for a dog meat festival in Yulin, China, and lent her support for the Women’s March on London in January.
Born on April Fools’ Day in 1999, Ms. Callender was fond of using the internet to make friends and had posted numerous photos with people she met online, writing, “The internet is an amazing place.”
Ms. Callender’s was only the first in what is likely to be a stream of heartbreaking stories over coming days, involving as they will so many young people in the first optimistic bloom of life.
The bombing, which the police said had killed 22 people and injured at least 59, took place at the end of an Ariane Grande concert on Monday night in Manchester Arena, which has a capacity of 18,000 for such events. Ms. Grande’s concerts attract legions of young female fans with their mothers in tow, and the targeting of an arena hosting thousands of children and teenagers gave the attack, which threw some of those present about 30 feet from where they had been standing, a particularly terrifying edge.
On Saturday, Ms. Callander had written on Twitter that she was “so excited” to see Ms. Grande, with whom she had posed for a photograph at a concert two years ago.
Her friends took to social media to express their grief. “To my beautiful best friend I hope you rest in peace my darling. I love you so much and will always miss you,” one wrote on Twitter.
Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester, said that the targeting of innocent youth had filled everyone with disgust. “We all feel a sense of abhorrence,” he said, describing the attack as “the most appalling evil” he could imagine.
As the authorities scrambled to identify the dead and relatives scoured Manchester hospitals in search of their loved ones, one mother clasped a framed photograph of her young daughter and made a tearful appeal on BBC television for any information about her, saying she was worried sick. Dozens of others posted photographs of the missing on social media, asking for information about relatives and friends.
Blood donor centers in Manchester said there had been a surge in volunteers. A vigil for the victims was planned in front of Manchester Town Hall for Tuesday evening.
Prime Minister Theresa May appealed to the public to contact the Manchester police if they had any information about the attack, noting that relatives and friends of the victims and the missing were experiencing unimaginable pain. She said the attack stood out for its cowardice.
Ms. Grande, for her part, expressed her sorrow on Twitter. “Broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words,” she wrote.
Ms. Callender was a fan of the fairy-tale-themed American television series “Once Upon a Time,” and in April had met actors from the series, several of whom expressed their condolences.
“This is beyond upsetting. Dearest, Georgina...RIP kind & beautiful lady,” Karen David, one of the actresses on the series, wrote on Twitter.