Silent vigil a year after Grenfell tragedy
● Survivors and bereaved families joined by pop stars to pay respects
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.