Stars join

Cer­e­monies themed on green pay re­spects to 72 who per­ished in blaze

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS - Ste­wart alexan­der

Gren­fell Tower sur­vivors and be­reaved fam­i­lies were joined by hun­dreds of mourn­ers in­clud­ing pop stars Adele and Stor­mzy to pay silent re­spect to the dead one year on.

Those touched by the tragedy which claimed 72 lives gath­ered near the foot of the block in west Lon­don for a mov­ing cer­e­mony which was closed to the pub­lic.

Many ar­rived dressed in green, the colour that has come to sym­bol­ise the ter­ri­ble events of June 14 2017.

The 72 sec­onds of si­lence which fell over North Kens­ing­ton shortly be­fore mid­day led a minute’s com­mem­o­ra­tion ob­served across the coun­try, in­clud­ing at gov­ern­ment build­ings, the Palace of Westminster and by the Queen and the Duchess of Sussex in Ch­ester.

The Mayor of Lon­don was among those to lay a wreath at the fence still sep­a­rat­ing the tower’s hol­lowed skele­ton from the rest of Lon­don.

Ni­cholas Bur­ton, a for­mer 19th floor res­i­dent whose wife, Maria del Pi­lar Bur­ton, died in Jan­uary, was the first of the be­reaved to lay flow­ers.

He told the Press As­so­ci­a­tion: “It was emo­tional, of course, but it felt good be­cause ev­ery­one around is your com­mu­nity, they’re friends that you know so it didn’t feel un­com­fort­able or strange – ev­ery­one just wanted to hug or say hello.

“I was just think­ing about my wife dur­ing the minute’s si­lence, to tell you the truth, hop­ing she’s OK and I got a bit emo­tional.

“Then you re­mem­ber ev­ery­one else who died in that tower and I know that I’m lucky to have had a bit of time with my wife.”

Singers Adele, Stor­mzy and Marcus Mum­ford all at­tended the event, hav­ing been vo­cal sup­port­ers of the fam­i­lies af­fected since the fire.

Mr Bur­ton con­tin­ued: “It was quite weird, I went into the sports cen­tre and I hear ‘Hi Nick’ and it’s Adele calling me over, who in­tro­duced me to her new hus­band and then Marcus comes over and we had a hug, then Stor­mzy comes over – they have all been un­be­liev­able.

“I was thank­ing them for all they’ve done be­hind the scenes that no one knows about.

“It was just nice and nor­mal. They may travel the world and are known to mil­lions but down on the ground they are nor­mal peo­ple with big hearts want­ing to give. This is their com­mu­nity as well, they feel part of it.

“That per­sona of be­ing fa­mous is out of the win­dow and now they are part of the Gren­fell com­mu­nity.”

Just af­ter 2pm griev­ing fam­i­lies from a sep­a­rate church ser­vice led a hushed crowd along Silch­ester Road to the tower.

Many held huge green hearts em­bla­zoned with words such as “hu­man­ity”, “love”, “unity” and “grace”.

An an­guished mourner col­lapsed to

the ground weep­ing as the march reached the base of the site.

Ear­lier, the day’s first ser­vice saw a com­mu­nity mo­saic un­veiled and a gospel choir per­form songs in­clud­ing Bridge Over Trou­bled Wa­ter.

The names of all the dead, in­clud­ing still­born baby Lo­gan Gomes and Mrs Bur­ton, were read out by dif­fer­ent mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

Mem­bers of the pub­lic were able to watch the cer­e­mony from a gi­ant screen erected out­side nearby Kens­ing­ton Aldridge Academy.

Par­al­lel com­mem­o­ra­tions took place nearby, in­clud­ing an 11am ser­vice of re­mem­brance at St He­len’s Church.

Among those in at­ten­dance was Tot­ten­ham MP David Lammy, who was friends with vic­tim Khadija Saye.

He said: “I don’t think a year ago we could have en­vis­aged how lit­tle sup­port the com­mu­nity would be given by the lo­cal au­thor­ity and the gov­ern­ment and that’s in their own words.

“That has not been the best of our coun­try. We need a re­dou­bling of ef­fort in the year ahead.”

It was emo­tional, of course, but it felt good be­cause ev­ery­one around is your com­mu­nity, they’re friends

Pic­tures: Getty and PA.

Top: a woman hold­ing a young girl looks emo­tional as she cov­ers her face dur­ing the me­mo­rial ser­vice at St He­len’s Church to mark the one year an­niver­sary of the Gren­fell Tower fire. Above: the tower is il­lu­mi­nated in green one year on from the tragic blaze.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.