Community unites for a day of moving tributes to victims of tower blaze
THE heartbreaking silence beat on for 72 seconds, one for each life lost a year ago in the Grenfell tragedy.
At the base of the white-shrouded tower at midday yesterday, the only sounds were a crying baby and distant Westway traffic as some mourners bowed their heads and others looked up.
The silence carried far away, observed by the House of Commons and the England squad training in Russia.
It was respected at the HQ of the London Fire Brigade, where Commissioner Dany Cotton comforted firefighters as they wept.
It was observed, too, by the Queen and the Duchess of Sussex in Chester, by Prince Charles and Camilla on a visit to Ireland and inside a memorial service at St Helen’s church, North Kensington.
There were 72 seconds when traffic and pedestrians stopped and even the streets seemed to hold their breath.
One woman wiped her eyes and told me: “I have been dreading this day. But now I realise I am not alone.”
In the evening, an emotional hush fell again as the community began a Silent Walk through its own streets, a reflective refuge after weeks of the Grenfell Inquiry’s sound and fury.
In between, 10 hours of events designed by locals meant that nobody had to grieve alone.
In the morning, survivors and bereaved people with red-rimmed eyes had said they were up all night unable to sleep.
Many dressed in green, the colour that has come to signify Grenfell, had visited the tower to pay private respects.
Among them came family, friends, firefighters, police and supporters of the campaign for justice including singer Adele and grime star Stormzy, who joined the crowd to sing Lean on Me.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan laid a wreath with a note that read: “We will never forget the 72 innocent lives lost and we will fight on until justice is done.”
Hassan Hassan, whose wife Rania and
Singer joins in with song Grime star pays respects