Children who lost loved ones in Grenfell disaster hold their own memorial

Children who lost homes and loved ones in Grenfell held a private memorial service at the base of the tower in the run-up to the first anniversary.

The group of 40 youngsters laid flowers in a heart-shaped wreath, held a minute’s silence and released 72 balloons during the poignant ceremony. Liz Morley-Smith from Action for  Children, which has been working with the bereaved youngsters, said one year after the fire they remain “incredibly vulnerable” and are still coping with their shock and grief.

The charity organised the memorial to allow under-18s to get as close as they could to the tower to pay their last respects. Shermia Edwards, 13, read out a poem she wrote in memory of her great-uncle Raymond Bernard, who was found dead in the top-floor flat where he had lived for 30 years.

Shermia, whose school St Francis of Assisi is close to the tower, now goes to a secondary school in Camden. She said: “I wanted to show people what I felt, and the poem was the best way I could express it.

Shermia Edwards’ poem

One night changed all

Changed a community

And brought so much unity

Everyone lost someone, dads, brothers,

Cousins, but I lost my uncle but he was more

Than just my uncle 

A father figure, someone I could count on,

Just someone who was always there.

No one can take away the loss, the pain, 

The love that I feel.

If only that night didn’t happen,

How different things would have been

The 14th of June 2017, a date never 

To be forgotten

The 14th June 2017, a day to be


“My uncle was very gentle, caring and calm. He would never raise his voice. He was more than just an uncle and we were very close.”

In her poem, Shermia wrote he was “someone I could count on, just someone who was always there.” She added: “I hope he would have been proud of me. It wasn’t that difficult to stand up and read it out, but when I said the line he was like a father to me it was hard not to cry.”

Ms Morley-Smith said Shermia delivered the poem “beautifully” at the event, organised in May “out of the spotlight” of the first anniversary commemorations. She said: “This service for the children, designed by the children, was their unique way of remembering loved ones they have lost.” 

Kensington Aldridge Academy, also at the base of the tower, will hold its own private service for staff and students today to mark the anniversary. The school, which lost four pupils and one former pupil in the blaze, is currently in  temporary buildings on the edge of Wormwood Scrubs, and is deciding whether to move back to its original site in September.

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