London Tube driver who stopped train in touching Grenfell tribute reveals he lost a friend in the tragedy

A Tube driver who stopped his train to pay a touching tribute to the victims of Grenfell has told how he was moved to make the gesture after losing a close friend in the fire.

Harvey Mitchell’s mid-journey salute next to the tower block in west London captured the hearts and minds of Londoners on the one year anniversary of the tragedy.

The touching gesture saw him stop his train, open his cab door and show a green banner to a crowd paying respects near Latimer Road station on Wednesday evening.

He also sounded his train’s horn to people commemorating the disaster, which claimed 72 lives, next to the tower.

The Tube driver stopped the train mid journey to salute the crowd (Twitter/Sky News)

Speaking on the one-year anniversary of the tragedy, Mr Mitchell told how he has lived in the area near Grenfell since arriving from Jamaica aged 16.

The 58-year-old said the gesture was a spontaneous tribute to the victims, which included his friend Raymond Bernard, known as Moses.

“A friend of mine, Moses, died in the tower,” he told the Standard. “Also my family know a few people who died there.

Tribute: Tube driver Harvey Mitchell at his local Latimer Road station (Lucy Young)

“I didn’t do it for anything apart from just celebrating with the people who lost their loved ones. There’s no special reason why I did it apart from that. Just giving them that sort of support.”

He said he was in Jamaica at the time of the blaze, and that when he discovered his friends had died “tears just came down my eyes because I knew Moses very well. He was always a guy who embraced me.”

Mr Mitchell said he had been driving Tube trains for 35 years and, in an emotional reminder of what happened at Grenfell, he has to pass the tower every day on his route.

Raymond Bernard, known as Moses, was one of the victims of the fire

“Every time I look at the building, there’s pain because of the sadness of the people who lost their lives,” he said.

“It is difficult. Most of the time I don’t look up there because I know what’s happening. So for me to stop there yesterday and see the crowd and give them that wave of solidarity and support, it was good for me.”

Mr Mitchell also revealed that he has been stopped in the street by well-wishers after the clip of the incident circulated online.

“I’m glad that the public like what I’ve done,” he said. “Because so much people come up to me and shake my hand, individual local people, and embrace me and said I did them proud, I did the community proud.

“Some people even go so far as saying I done a better job than our Prime Minister.”

He added: “We just hope that we’ll move forward in strength and unity and hope that the bond …. Gives the families who are grieving some form of hope. Only time can heal the pain and suffering and how they feel.”

Grenfell photographer documents relief effort in powerful images

1/9 The hours after the Grenfell Tower fire

The community relief effort in the wake of the fire.

Parveen Ali

2/9 The hours after the Grenfell Tower fire

Ms Ali said she found the images of people coming together ‘beautiful’.

Parveen Ali

3/9 The hours after the Grenfell Tower fire

‘There was so much going on,’ she said. ‘It was a lot to take in.’

Parveen Ali

4/9 The hours after the Grenfell Tower fire

St Clement Church became a base for donations, which flooded in almost immediately.

Parveen Ali

5/9 The hours after the Grenfell Tower fire

People gather to buy food as the relief effort continues.

Parveen Ali

6/9 The hours after the Grenfell Tower fire

She said she liked that the pictures showed a nicer side of the community in the wake of the tragedy.

Parveen Ali

7/9 The hours after the Grenfell Tower fire

‘Everyone came together,’ she said. ‘It didn’t matter where you were from.’

Parveen Ali

8/9 The hours after the Grenfell Tower fire

She hopes to exhibit more of her images later in the year.

Parveen Ali

9/9 The hours after the Grenfell Tower fire

Parveen Ali

Transport for London said that despite some people claiming the act may have been a breach of safety protocol, they endorsed Mr Mitchell’s actions.

Mark Wild, managing director of London Underground, said: “Yesterday evening one of our Tube drivers gave a moving display of respect for people gathered to remember the tragedy’s victims. He has our full support.”

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