On the six-month anniversary of the Grenfell fire, survivors and the bereaved were joined by members of the Royal Family and the PM at St Paul’s Cathedral to remember the 71 that lost their lives.
More than 1,500 guests, including bereaved families, rescue workers, the Royal Family and Adele were present as Dr David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s opened the service by saying “We come together as different faiths as we remember those whose lives were lost”.
As the Green For Grenfell banner was displayed for all to see, the grief of those affected by the fire was still visibly raw. Maria Jafari, who lost her father in the fire said” it’s very, very hard. She (My mother) cries every day”.
Tiago Alves, a survivor of the fire, added “The reason we are doing this today is so that people never forget”.
He closed his statement “we want people to remember” – a thought that so many in attendance were so passionately trying to emphasise.
Families proudly held pictures of their loved ones that were lost in the fire while audio clips from people at the scene of the fire echoed around the cathedral.
The Bishop of Kensington and organiser of the memorial service, Graham Tomlin spoke amorously to the congregation: “today we ask why warnings were not heeded, why community was left feeling neglected, uncared for, not listened to.” Yet, he remained hopeful for change in “a city that didn’t listen”.
The leader of Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council, Elizabeth Campbell was not in attendance after numerous families said they did not want any presence from the council.
As the service ended, many of the survivors and bereaved family members left St Paul’s clutching white roses.
The service was organised to give those affected by the fire the chance to remember the lives that were so needlessly lost. Hopefully survivors and members of bereaved families were able to gain something from the service and feel a sense of relief in what will have been the most challenging times in their lives.