Silent vigil a year af­ter Gren­fell tragedy

● Sur­vivors and be­reaved fam­i­lies joined by pop stars to pay re­spects

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By JEMMA CREW

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 14 June, 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 said: “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

0 A pro­ces­sion fol­low­ing a memo­rial ser­vice at St He­len’s Church, top and left. The si­lence is marked at Glas­gow Cen­tral Sta­tion 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”.

A 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.

Af­ter each fin­ished their turn, they said: “For­ever in our hearts.”

Si­lence then fell over the gath­ered crowd, all still ex­cept for the rus­tle of leaves in the trees. Par­al­lel com­mem­o­ra­tions took place nearby, in­clud­ing an 11am ser­vice of re­mem­brance at St He­len’s Church.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.