Tributes flood in for Grenfell Tower victims as a nation falls silent

14 June 2020, 19:17

A woman reads messages of support written on the wall surrounding Grenfell tower
A woman reads messages of support written on the wall surrounding Grenfell tower. Picture: Getty

By Matt Drake

Celebrities, politicians and members of the public across the UK have paid tribute to the victims of Grenfell who tragically died three years ago today.

Sunday marks three years since a small kitchen fire in the west London high-rise turned into the most deadly domestic blaze since the Second World War.

The fire claimed 72 lives and more than 70 other people were injured. Churches rang their bells 72 times to commemorate the fallen.

In a message to people affected by the fire, Stormzy said the people of Grenfell and west London had taken the tragedy and turned it into "togetherness and friendship and brotherhood and sisterhood and family".

Adele, Akala and George The Poet were among the stars paying tribute on the third anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Adele took part in an online memorial event, paid tribute to the victims of the fire.

She said on Instagram: "Today, Sunday, is 3 years since #Grenfell. 72 lives will be forever in our hearts", before encouraging fans to join the memorial.

Shortly after the fire, Adele visited the scene to speak to victims and their families.

Stormzy has sent a message of support to a virtual memorial marking the third anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire.

In a video played during the Grenfell United online event, he said: "I said I was just gonna put the camera on and just talk from my heart instead of trying to prepare anything, I didn't want this to sound like it came from anywhere other than my heart.

"To all the people of Grenfell, we're still mourning with you, so to anyone watching this let's use this time, let's use today to stand in solidarity with them and say that we ain't forgotten you. We love you, we're here for you.

"When the Government and powers that be have turned their back on you, we're here. We're here, we've got you, we're not letting this go.

"Because as much as my life's moved on, your life's moved on unless you had someone in that fire who you directly lost, whoever your family, your friend, your sister, your mother, your brother, your father, our lives have moved on but there is still a dark reality that these people have to face all the time, that Grenfell was still a reality for these people.

"It was just a day, it was just a week, it was just a month for us, it was a green heart, it was a badge, it was a tweet, but that's still a dark reality for these people."

Brit Award-nominated artist George The Poet paid tribute, writing: "RIP to all who lost their lives in the Grenfell tragedy. Justice is still pending."

Children's TV presenter Baroness Floella Benjamin said: "The #Grenfell catastrophe must never be forgotten as the legacy for those who died has to be for change to happen."

Rapper and author Akala added: "Rest in power to all the people that lost their lives and #Grenfell three years ago and love to all the bereaved and survivors."

Pop band Bastille encouraged their followers to write to their local MP asking the Government to commit to the removal of certain flammable building claddings.

And singer-songwriter Jack Garratt wrote: "Today marks 3 years since The Grenfell Tower fire.

"Currently in Britain, 257 tower blocks, housing about 56,000 people are still to be made safe.

"Please take some time today to donate to the organisations that are trying to protect lives..."

He shared a link to the Grenfell Foundation, which provides support to the tower's former residents and their families.

Wolf Alice guitarist Joff Oddie and rappers Big Narstie, Avelino and Big Zuu also shared tributes online.

A minute's silence was held to mark the anniversary of the tragedy at 6pm.

Conservative MP Theresa May, who was prime minister when the Grenfell Tower fire happened in 2017, tweeted: "Today we remember all those who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower.

"My thoughts are with the bereaved & survivors who fight, day in, day out, to ensure such a tragedy never happens again.

"We, in Parliament, must do all we can to help them. Their loved ones must not be forgotten."

In a written statement, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: "The Grenfell Tower fire was a national tragedy in which 72 innocent Londoners lost their lives. Three years on, my thoughts and prayers are with the families and Grenfell community as they grieve and remember their loved ones.

"We owe it to the people who died, their loved ones and those who survived to ensure that nothing like it ever happens again.

"We are marking this anniversary in very different circumstances to last year, and although we are apart, I know we are united in our call for justice for Grenfell.

"I know the bereaved, survivors, residents and wider community are understandably frustrated at the lack of meaningful change and they are fearful that a similar tragedy could happen again. I too share their concerns.

"While struggling with their own personal grief and recovery, they have continued to campaign for building safety and are demanding change to keep others safe in their homes.

"I will continue to be relentless in holding those responsible to account and doing everything within my power to ensure the Grenfell community gets the justice they deserve, and all Londoners can feel safe again in their homes."

In a video message, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he is "absolutely committed" to uncovering the causes of the Grenfell Tower fire and "ensuring it's never repeated".

"We've introduced stricter laws on fire safety, launched a billion-pound fund to remove dangerous cladding and created a new watchdog to protect the residents of tall buildings," he said.

"We're working to implement every recommendation made by the first phase of the public inquiry. And the second phase, while it's been delayed by coronavirus, is slowly but surely getting to the definitive truth of how this disaster was allowed to happen.

"I know this anniversary is particularly hard, coming at a time when so many survivors and bereaved can't even come together to share a hug.

"While those affected by Grenfell are not able to gather in person, I want you to know that all of us in this country are with you in spirit.

"You will not be forgotten. We stand with you, we weep with you and we are with you, today and always."

The public inquiry into the disaster was paused in March because of the coronavirus pandemic and is due to restart on July 6.