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Manchester Arena Inquiry: Georgina Callander was ‘always laughing’

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media caption‘She lit up the room with her famous smile’

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.css-14iz86j-BoldText{font-weight:bold;}The father of Georgina Callander said she had a “heart as big as the moon” while her mother described her as “one in many millions”.

For two weeks, the relatives of the 22 people killed in the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing will .css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link{color:#3F3F42;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{color:#696969;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{font-weight:bolder;border-bottom:1px solid #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{border-bottom-color:currentcolor;border-bottom-width:2px;color:#B80000;}@supports (text-underline-offset:0.25em){.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{border-bottom:none;-webkit-text-decoration:underline #BABABA;text-decoration:underline #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-underline-offset:0.25em;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{-webkit-text-decoration-color:currentcolor;text-decoration-color:currentcolor;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:2px;text-decoration-thickness:2px;color:#B80000;}}provide a personal insight into the lives of their loved ones and how their lives were changed forever.
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In a moving video Simon Callander, who was at the hearing, described how “her laughter echoed all over the house”.

“Everyday I hear her laugh,” he said.

The 18-year-old’s mother Lesley Callander said in separate film played to the inquiry on Wednesday: “She was like a beautiful melody who lit up the room with her famous smile.”

She said she was “my whole world”.

Mr Callander opened his “pen portrait” by saying Georgina was born on April Fools’ Day “but I was the fool for not spending more time with her and not telling her he loved her every day”.

“Compassion was her hallmark. She didn’t have a bad bone in her body,” he said.

“She had so much love – and so much love to give.”

He recalled how the teenager from Tarleton, Lancashire used to “squeal with excitement” opening her Christmas presents, kept her brothers Daniel and Harry out of trouble and her talent for art and how she loved taekwondo, ballet and football, playing for Bolton Wanderers Girls Football team.

.css-9abvm1-Placeholder{position:relative;display:block;padding-bottom:56.25%;background-color:#EEEEEE;}.css-9abvm1-Placeholder > img{overflow:hidden;position:absolute;top:0;right:0;bottom:0;left:0;display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-box-pack:center;-webkit-justify-content:center;-ms-flex-pack:center;justify-content:center;-webkit-align-items:center;-webkit-box-align:center;-ms-flex-align:center;align-items:center;width:100%;height:100%;object-fit:cover;}Georgina Callander and Ariana Grande.css-1ecljvk-StyledFigureCopyright{position:absolute;bottom:0;right:0;background:#3F3F42;color:#EEEEEE;padding:0.25rem 0.5rem;text-transform:uppercase;}image copyrightManchester Arena Inquiry
image captionGeorgina Callander was an Ariana Grande “super fan”

He said he still looked out of the window every day to see her walking home from school.

“I would give anything to see her smiling face again.”

Images of Georgina growing up were shown to the court accompanied by Lukas Graham’s Love Someone, which features the line “I’d stop the world if it gave us time”.

Mr Callander recalled her part-time job at Booths, spending her wages on concerts and her pride at passing her driving test first time.

She named her first car ‘Peggy’ which she drove to the concert on “that horrific day”, he said.

Georgina had been due to study children’s nursing at Edge Hill University, but never got to go, he said.

“All that potential snatched away.”

Mr Callander said: “My life is unrecognisable [from] what it was. Ill health. Divorce. A black cloud that follows me constantly.”

He said Georgina had been “the glue that held the family together”.

His recording ended with more family photographs including one of Georgina with her idol Ariana Grande as Rod Stewart’s Love Has No Pride played.

Lesley Callander paying tribute to her daughterimage copyrightManchester Arena Inquiry
image captionGeorgina’s mother Lesley Callander her daughter was “my whole world”

Georgina’s mother had earlier described her daughter as was “one in many millions” in her powerful tribute.

She said she would have attended the hearing in person but ever since the attack she “could not bear” to be in Manchester.

Alongside a painting of her daughter dressed in her favourite colour yellow, Mrs Callander described her as an “extremely caring person with a lovely soul” who offered an “abundance of hugs for everyone”.

“She was like a beautiful melody who lit up the room with her famous smile,” she said.

Her mother said she was passionate about music and Disney films as well as the colour yellow, joking she hardly took her yellow coat off.

Georgina Callanderimage copyrightManchester Arena Inquiry
image captionGeorgina Callander shared a love of Marvel comics with her older brothers Daniel and Harry

She spoke of her “unbearable pain” as she relived holding Georgina in her arms during her final moments.

She said it had been a “daily living nightmare” since the “senseless and pointless” murder of her “beautiful, innocent daughter”.

“I find it excruciatingly hard to live without Georgina. I’m nothing without my Georgina. I wish it would have been me and not her.”

She added: “My heart is shattered.”

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‘Infectious’

Her brothers also paid tribute in a statement to their “geeky” sister who shared their interest in Marvel comics.

“She was like a ray of sunshine on the darkest of days,” said Daniel.

“It was infectious how she made you feel.”

Harry said: “The one grievance that stains me the most is the life she will never ever get to experience.”

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