You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Grenfell Tower floodlit green to mark one-year anniversary as poignant vigil held

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 14/06/2018 By Telegraph Reporters

UP NEXT
UP NEXT
(Video provided by PA)

Grenfell Tower was among a dozen buildings illuminated green on Wednesday night as the local community began 24 hours of poignant commemorations for the tragedy that killed 72 people a year ago.

Clutching the flowers and placards bearing images of their lost loved ones, dozens of tearful survivors of the tragedy joined still-grieving relatives on an emotional walk through the area.

a group of people walking down the street © Provided by The Telegraph

The procession - accompanied by a portable speaker playing a melancholic track on repeat - ended in the shadow of the burnt-out block just prior to the 12:54 am anniversary of the blaze's outbreak.

One by one, relatives announced the names of the deceased accompanied by a flurry from a bongo drum, before pinning their pictures at the "wall of truth" - a section of the fencing around the tower featuring messages and candles.

a group of people looking at the camera © Provided by The Telegraph

Then at 12:54 am, heralded by a short trumpet blast, an eerie silence of 72 seconds - in memory of each of the people who perished, along with a stillborn baby - descended on the sombre site, as light rain started to fall.

"I saw everything from the start of that night and I couldn't sleep for three weeks," recalled Farhiya Abdi, 42, a mother-of-two who was among the first to arrive at Grenfell from her nearby home as the fire spread.

a view of a city street filled with traffic at night © Provided by The Telegraph

"When I closed my eyes I would hear the screaming for help, see the children's faces at the window again. I saw people jump to their death," she said earlier in the evening, at a remembrance event on a closed-off nearby street.

Thursday marks 12 months since a small kitchen fire in the high-rise turned into the most deadly domestic blaze since the Second World War.

a view of a city at night © Provided by The Telegraph

The 24-storey block was illuminated on Wednesday night, the first step in a series of commemorations taking place this week.

Twelve blocks, plus the tower, glowed green in a show of solidarity across the west London skyline, while Downing Street was also lit up. They will also be illuminated for the following four evenings.

a man standing in front of a fence © Provided by The Telegraph

The tower is now completely covered by white sheeting, with banners featuring the green Grenfell heart and the words "Grenfell forever in our hearts" emblazoned across the four highest floors.

The display is one of a series of commemorations and vigils taking place this week as the public inquiry takes a step back.

Video: Moment Tube driver stops for Grenfell tribute (Sky News)

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

From 11am, there will be a service of remembrance at St Helen's church organised by campaign group Relative Justice Humanity for Grenfell.

Clarrie Mendy, who lost two family members in the fire and organised the anniversary event, said the names of the 72 victims would be read out, while 73 doves will be released outside the church.

She said: "It's a service of healing, community, inclusivity and solidarity, to know we are not alone. We'll be releasing 73 white doves. Why 73 instead of 72? One for the unknown. If there were more than 72, we will put one for the unknown."

They will be giving out 400 white roses which people will be able to carry on their way to the tower afterwards. In addition, a moment of silence will be observed at midday by survivors and bereaved gathered close to the tower's base and nationally.

Grenfell Tower fire: Safety instructions issued to local authorities for 'immediate' action © Getty Images Grenfell Tower fire: Safety instructions issued to local authorities for 'immediate' action

A community mosaic is to be unveiled, while wreaths will be laid and candles lit. In the afternoon, the community is expected to congregate at the nearby "Wall of Truth" ahead of the silent march which will set off around 7pm.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will join survivors, the bereaved and others at the dignified gathering, which has taken place every month since the fire.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14:  In this image taken by eyewitness Gurbuz Binici, a huge fire engulfs the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England.  The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident. Fatalities have been confirmed and at least 50 people are receiving hospital treatment.  (Photo by Gurbuz Binici /Getty Images) © Getty LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: In this image taken by eyewitness Gurbuz Binici, a huge fire engulfs the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident. Fatalities have been confirmed and at least 50 people are receiving hospital treatment. (Photo by Gurbuz Binici /Getty Images)

Yvette Williams, from campaign group Justice 4 Grenfell, said: "I think we kind of almost move from 'did it really happen at all?' to 'it feels like it happened yesterday', to looking at the struggles the bereaved families and survivors have had over the year (and realising) that it is actually a year.

"We want the nation to keep Grenfell in their consciousness. The anniversary is about love and support - the fight can start again on Friday and Saturday - and keeping that humanity going on that day."

Grenfell Tower Management company chief Robert Black steps down © Press Association Grenfell Tower Management company chief Robert Black steps down

After the silent march, families will come together for a community Iftar to break bread with those fasting over Ramadan. The following day, schools across the country are expected to take part in "Green for Grenfell", a day to "celebrate the spirit of people coming together".

The bereaved and survivors group Grenfell United hopes the idea will become an annual event which will continue the unity and support demonstrated by the local community after the fire. This year, children are being asked to wear green to school and help with a community project, sharing their achievements online.

On Thursday and Friday, more than 2,000 schoolchildren across the UK will sing Grenfell From Today - a charity single inspired by Cornwall Hugs Grenfell, an organisation offering holidays to those affected. The song is also being learned by choirs in New Zealand and America, founder Esme Page said.

It comes as latest figures show that 68 families will spend the anniversary in emergency accommodation, mainly hotels. Some 52 households are in temporary accommodation and 83 families are in permanent homes, Kensington and Chelsea Council said.

The local authority declined to specify the approximate locations of those now in temporary and permanent homes, including how many people are living in or outside the borough.


AdChoices
AdChoices

More from The Telegraph

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon