Grenfell Tower fire: Minute's silence marks one-year anniversary


Doves being released outside the Grenfell memorial serviceImage copyright
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The names of the 72 people who died in the Grenfell Tower fire a year ago have been read out at a memorial service close to the building in west London.

Candles were lit in St Helen’s Church and doves released outside before hundreds walked to the tower in a silent procession.

Speaking at the service, Labour MP David Lammy said it was a “bittersweet” moment as the community celebrated their unity but mourned those lost.

A national silence was held at midday.

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Media captionMinute’s silence for Grenfell anniversary

The 72-second silence was observed across the country, including at government buildings, Parliament and by the Queen and the Duchess of Sussex on a visit to Chester, where the monarch wore green in honour of Grenfell victims.

Clarrie Mendy, who lost two family members in the fire and organised the anniversary service attended by several hundred people, said: “It’s a service of healing, community, inclusivity and solidarity, to know we are not alone.”

Bereaved families were invited to light candles in memory of their loved ones in the North Kensington church, which had been decked out in green – a colour adopted by survivors and relatives of those who died.

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There were green ribbons tied around pillars, scarves on seats and banners were hung for the service, where Amazing Grace was sung.

Hundreds of white roses were handed out to the crowds of people gathered outside the church.

After the service, Ms Mendy led the procession towards Grenfell Tower, accompanied by other bereaved relatives carrying a large floral display spelling “Humanity for Grenfell”.

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PA

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Relatives holding banners marched to the tower after the service

Bishop of Kensington Dr Graham Tomlin said there was an atmosphere of “quiet dignity, a sombre mood in the air”.

Wreaths were laid by London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the Duke of Kent during another service close to the base of the tower. The singers Stormzy and Adele, who have been vocal supporters of Grenfell victims, attended the event.

Ahead of the services, the tower and other London buildings were lit green at 00:54 BST, the time the fire was first reported in a flat on 14 June 2017.

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Wreaths were also laid at a memorial at the base of the tower

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The victims’ names were also read out at 01:30 BST during a vigil at another church in the area – St Clemet’s where people fleeing Grenfell Tower had gathered on the night of the fire.

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Prime Minister Theresa May wrote on Twitter that she wanted to “pay tribute” to the victims’ “family, friends and loved ones for the strength and dignity they have shown”.

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MP David Lammy described the service at St Helen’s Church as “bittersweet”

Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, said that despite a year having passed, the tragedy “remains very real, raw and painful for many people, every day”.

A neighbourhood ‘adorned with green’

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EPA

By BBC reporter Alice Evans, in west London

The neighbourhood surrounding Grenfell Tower is adorned with green as people gather at the base of the block for Thursday’s commemoration events.

Bus stops and lampposts, which still have sticky tape markings left from where posters of missing loved ones were hopefully displayed, are now brightened by the green scarves and ribbons.

A choir practises beautiful renditions of Bridge Over Troubled Water and Lean On Me.

The covered, charred remains of the tower paints an eerie, harrowing backdrop.

These creative, colourful and passionate tributes are testament to the vibrancy and love within the Grenfell community.

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Reuters

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PA

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London Ambulance Service staff joined people gathering at the foot of Grenfell Tower

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The anniversary was marked at London Fire Brigade’s HQ

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The England football team held a minute’s silence in Russia

The tower was recently covered in white sheeting with a large green heart featured on all four sides at the top of the block.

The heart symbol was created by the Grenfell Speaks campaign group to symbolise hope and unity after the fire.

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Media captionMohammed and Zahra used to live in Grenfell Tower, but home has been a hotel room for the past year

Natasha Elcock, who was one of the last residents to be rescued from the tower and is now a member of the survivor group Grenfell United, has praised the community’s response to the fire.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: “We could have been the most angry community out there because of what happened, but we’ve chosen to be dignified, be calm.

“Ultimately, that’s earned us respect.”

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