Grenfell remembered as congregation comes together for victims: 'Forever in our hearts'
Tributes, memorials and calls to action have been made by politicians, celebrities and support groups to mark the fifth-year anniversary of the Grenfell fire
This morning a memorial service took place at Westminster Abbey. The names of the victims were read out, to which the attendees responded with saying ‘forever in our hearts’.
In attendance was Prime Minister Boris Johnson, along with his predecessor Theresa May. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Housing Secretary Michael Gove were also present.
At the service, The Very Reverend David Hoyle stated: “We gather as those who look for justice and a renewed commitment to securing safety in our homes.”, going on to state that he hoped for “a better, safer, surer future.”
Boris Johnson, commemorating the anniversary, tweeted, “Today marks five years since the Grenfell Tower fire took the lives of 72 people.
“My thoughts are with the survivors, those who lost loved ones and the wider community.”
Theresa May also voiced her sympathies on Twitter: “Today, we remember all those who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower. We pay tribute to their families and friends who want their loved ones to be remembered not for what happened but what changed.
“Five years on, there is more to do, but that must be the legacy of Grenfell.”
Others have included calls to action and criticised a lack of visible results from the inquiry into the tragedy. Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, tweeted that “five years ago, a horrific fire took the lives of 72 people, including Unite members and their families.
“Shamefully, nobody has ever been held to account. Today, we stand in solidarity with the #Grenfell community in the fight for justice.”
Victoria Derbyshire, presenter and interviewer, wrote on Twitter that “Many people who lost loved ones, and who survived, tell me they are still waiting for justice 5 years on”.
The Justice 4 Grenfell group released a video and statement on Twitter in which they stated that there had been “0 done in 5 years”, describing the process as a “protracted public inquiry” having resulted in “0 arrests”.
Lisa Nandy, Shadow Housing Secretary, wrote in part of her statement online that “Five years after one of the worst disasters of modern times, justice has not yet been served and change has been far too slow.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan espoused similar sentiments in his video on the anniversary which was released on Twitter. He declared the event a “stain on our society”, continuing to assert that “this tragedy was entirely preventable and it should never have happened…
We also reaffirm our commitment to standing with the Grenfell community as they continue their brave campaign for answers, accountability, and change.”
The issue of replacing flammable cladding was also an important topic raised in commemorative statements. Reverend Graham Tomlin, the Bishop of Kensington, who led the memorial service at Westminster Abbey, spoke to the Times Radio.
Tomlin stated that those affected “Can’t rebuild their lives until there’s a sense of justice, because people feel that something deeply wrong went on at Grenfell and yet no-one yet has been held responsible for it.”
He also said that “residential blocks are clad in materials similar or equally combustible to that which was on Grenfell Tower, and that’s a great agony for people who are living in those buildings, wondering whether their building is going to be next to go up in flames.”.
Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham wrote on Twitter “It has been five years since 72 people were killed by a fire at #Grenfell. Today we remember the victims and demand action to remove unsafe #cladding and ensure a similar tragedy can never happen again”.
Kim Johnson, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside concurred, writing that “Five years on from the Grenfell tragedy, still no-one has been held accountable, and thousands of people are living in fear of a similar incident due to the delay in financing #cladding remediation.
“We remember the 72, we demand justice for the families and survivors.”