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London marks Grenfell anniversary with moving service

REMEMBERED: A procession following a Grenfell Tower fire Memorial Service, at St Helen's Church, North Kensington, to mark one year since the blaze, which claimed 72 lives.

TRIBUTE HAS been paid to the victims of the Grenfell Fire and their families, amidst calls for justice, during an emotional memorial service.

The service one year on from the disaster that claimed 72 lives took place at the Saint Helens Church in North Kensington, a short distance from the fire.

Among the attendees at the packed church was rapper Stormzy, singer Adele, Tottenham MP David Lammy, Imran Khan QC and families of the diseased, including Ambrose Mendy, the boxing promoter.

Speaking to the congregation, during a moving tribute David Lammy said: “The days that followed Grenfell and the amazing volunteers who sent food, clothes and provided emotional support was a tribute to this country.

“It is that moment when we looked in the mirror that we need to hold on to, a year on from the disaster.”

The MP stressed: “Questions need to be asked and we must take pride in our quest for justice on behalf of those who died.

“Only when we uncover the answers to the fire will the healing flow, providing reassurance that people will never die from preventable fires in the future.”

PICTURED: David Lammy

Ambrose Mendy, whose cousin Mary Mendy and her daughter Khadija Saye died in the blaze reassured families that they will not grieve on their own.

The boxing promoter then called for justice. He said: “If we acquire the truth about the disaster there can be a reconciliation.

“It’s incumbent upon all of us that the victims are never forgotten, rather they should be revered.

“Our strength will ensure that the truth will not just present itself, but will be announced in a manner to ensure a tragedy like Grenfell Tower will never reoccur.”

The one-hour service included prays and recitals of hymns and verses from the Bible.
A moving part of the service was a rendition of Hallelujah, by the Ebony Steel Band and opera singer Nancy May, which caused many in the audience to weep.

Nabil Choucair who lost six close relatives in the disaster spoke to The Voice and expressed appreciation for the service. He said: “The last year has been very difficult, but it has been good for everyone to come together. The service was very nice.”
At the end of the memorial, 72 candles were lit in remembrance of the individuals who perished in the fire.

HONOUR: Doves are released outside St Helen's Church, North Kensington

As the congregation departed from the church wearing green, the colour adopted by various Grenfell community groups, white doves and green balloons were released.
Yvette Williams, campaign co-ordinator for Justice4 Grenfell, said of the service: “It was beautiful. The service brought everyone together, Christians those of the Muslim faith and Ethiopians. My desire is that the community continues to be strong.”

Discussing the objectives of Justice4Grenfell over the next year, Williams said she hopes the housing difficulties experienced by many who lived in the Tower will be resolved.
David Lammy agreed. He said: “I hope there is a permanent solution to the housing difficulties being experienced by some victims.

“We are living in the sixth richest country in the world and yet it has not delivered.”

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