Father tells Manchester Arena inquiry his daughter was a ‘bundle of joy’

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The father of a teenager murdered in the Manchester Arena attack says he hopes the bomber “rots in the deepest, darkest part of hell”.

Simon Callander said “evil” Salman Abedi had “snatched away” the potential of his daughter Georgina, 18, 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, near Preston, Lancashire, was enjoying the independence that a car and a part-time job provided as she looked ahead to studying at university, said Mr Callander.

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.”

The funeral procession for Georgina Callander (Peter Byrne/PA)
The funeral procession for Georgina Callander (Peter Byrne/PA)

Mr Callander said: “Peggy would unfortunately be Georgina’s one and only car.

“She even drove to the concert that night to watch Ariane 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.

Georgina Callander (Family/PA)
Georgina Callander (Family/PA)

“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.

“Sadness always wins the battle with happy memories.

“Sometimes life has no point.”

He spoke of how Miss Callander’s elder brothers, Daniel and Harry, were “dealing with things in their own way and seemed to be coping OK”.

Mr Callander said: “I am so proud of the way they are turning out.

“I know they both miss their little sister and she would be so proud of them.”

On Wednesday, Miss Callander’s mother, Lesley, told the hearing of her “daily, living nightmare” and how she wished she would have died instead.

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