Grenfell Tower anniversary: ‘Let us pray that no community has to grieve again like this one has,’ says Bishop of Kensington



From the “ashes of the tower” must rise a determination that such a blaze will never again happen in Britain, a Grenfell memorial service was told today.

The Right Reverend Dr Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington, said the tragedy should become a “symbol of change and renewal” in London and far beyond, rather than “a monument to our failure to listen and to care”. On the first anniversary of the fire, which claimed 72 lives, he spoke of the need to pursue a “slow, patient, determined search for justice” for the victims. “Today we have a choice,” he told the service at St Helen’s Church in North Kensington. 

“Grenfell Tower can remain an ongoing symbol of pain and loss — a monument to our failure to listen and to care for one another. Or it can become a symbol of change and renewal. 

“We pray today that from the ashes of the tower will rise a new resolve to seek each other’s welfare before our own, to listen to each other, to ensure no community has to grieve again as this one has, where we learn to love one another just as we are loved, not just in times of disaster but as a regular way of life, whatever our differences of ethnicity or faith.”

Two women embrace outside the Methodist church near Grenfell Tower on the anniversary of the Grenfell fire (AFP/Getty Images)

A dozen nearby tower blocks were illuminated green, as were No 10, the London Eye and other landmarks. Tens of thousands across the UK fell silent at midday in a mark of respect. In Russia, the England football team observed a minute’s silence before training.

Around 250 people gathered close to Grenfell Tower, lit up green in the night sky, as the clock ticked towards 00.54am — the time of the first call to the fire brigade a year ago. They  cupped candles against the wind as a roll call of victims was read out. There were survivors, the bereaved; the old, the young; different ethnic backgrounds, different religions; many still heartbroken but resilient, all paying their respects.

A woman lights candles as she attends a memorial service at St Helen’s Church to mark the one year anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire (Getty Images)

In the quiet streets, lampposts, signs and benches held green ribbons. In St Clement’s Church, which became a refuge centre on the night of the fire, a 24-hour vigil was taking place. Elizabeth Harrington, 48, was friends with Mary Mendy, 54, who lived on Grenfell’s 20th floor and died alongside her daughter Khadija Saye, 24. “It’s far too early to be talking about normality. It’s not going away,” she said.

Barbara Tomlin, 55, who grew up in the area, said she and her brother had come to “pay their respects”, adding: “I definitely still feel angry. It will take generations to heal.” Mother-of-one Queen Allen said: “This is the first time I’ve been this close to the tower at night. Every time I come home I try to avoid walking past.” Antonio Roncolato, 58, was on the 10th floor asleep a year ago when his son Christopher called him telling him to get out. The restaurant manager said: “This was a crime not only against residents but humanity.”

Notting Hill Grenfell Tower Fire – In pictures

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A blaze rages through Grenfell Tower block in Notting Hill

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Aerial view of the fire at Grenfell Tower, Notting Hill

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Aerial view of the fire at Grenfell Tower, Notting Hill

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A firefighter investigates a floor after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower

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Exhausted firefighter rest on steps of houses after ours of tackling the blaze

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Residents wave frantically at a window during the blaze

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Emergency personnel operate during the fire at the Grenfell Tower, a 27-storey apartment block in North Kensington, London

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A police officer helps to evacuate a local resident from close to the scene of a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London

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Debris and ash surrounding Grenfell Tower in the West Lancaster estate, Latimer road

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A fleet of ambulances at the scene ready to deal with the injured

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A firefighter rests during the battle against the blaze at Grenfell Tower

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Firefighters prepare to enter the building to tackle the flames

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Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London

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Flames engulf the tower block in Notting Hill

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This shocking image shows flames engulfing the 27 storey tower

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Police and Emergency services at the scene of a major fire in Notting Hill after a block of flats Grenfell Tower is engulfed in flames

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A person peers out of a window from the building on fire in London

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Firefighters react as a huge fire engulfs the Grenfell Tower

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Smoke rises from the fire at the Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey apartment block in North Kensington, London

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Smoke billows across the London skyline follwing a fire at Grenfell Tower in the West Lancaster estate

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Aw omen react followign the blaze at Grenfell Tower

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Smoke billows across the London skyline follwing a fire at Grenfell Tower in the West Lancaster estate

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A water jet douses the fire at the Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey apartment block seen through a fence in North Kensington

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Young children wear protective face masks near the burning 24 storey residential Grenfell Tower block in Latimer Road, West London

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Two men hug within the security cordon as Grenfell Tower is engulfed by fire

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A man (circled) looks from a window as smoke pours from a fire that has engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower

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Smoke billows across the London skyline follwing a fire at Grenfell Tower in the West Lancaster estate

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Firefighters on the scene at Grenfell Tower on Latimer Road early this morning

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A view of debris from the Grenfell Tower fire covering a football pitch

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Aerial view of the closed of Westway follwing a the fire at Grenfell Tower in the West Lancaster estate, Latimer Road.

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Fire fighters tackle the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London

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A local resident is carried to receive some medical aid at a community centre close to a fire that has engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower

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 Seventy-two seconds of silence were held, one for each victim. The community’s anger  was given voice by one man who began shouting at the side of the crowd. Heads turned, but calm prevailed and he was consoled by others.

Minute’s silence observed in Parliament for Grenfell Tower anniversary

After the silence, there were tears, but also smiles and laughter — a community bound by tragedy but not defeated. This afternoon, hundreds were expected to congregate at the Wall of Truth near the tower, ahead of a silent march which will set off at around 7pm.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “The terrible tragedy of Grenfell Tower remains very real, raw and painful. My thoughts, and those of all us in the Met, are with all those who died, loved ones left behind, and all those who survived.” London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said: “One year ago today London changed forever. The tragic and unprecedented fire will never be forgotten.”



Source : https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/grenfell-anniversary-let-us-pray-that-no-community-has-to-grieve-again-like-this-one-has-says-bishop-a3863046.html

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