Grenfell Tower 24-hour vigil marks anniversary of tragedy

Religious ceremonies, mosaic and silent walk all recall 72 victims of 2017 London blaze

Banner with “Grenfell Forever In Our Hearts” on the top of Grenfell Tower in London, one year on from the fire. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Banner with “Grenfell Forever In Our Hearts” on the top of Grenfell Tower in London, one year on from the fire. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

 

A 24-hour vigil to mark the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire began at 6pm on Wednesday as part of a series of events that will include a nationwide one-minute silence at noon on Thursday.

The names of the 72 victims of the blaze in west London will be read aloud at St Clement’s Church, close to the tower block, at 1.30am, the time at which the fire took hold on June 14th last year. A roster of clerics from local churches will say the Lord’s Prayer on the hour throughout the night; otherwise the vigil will be largely silent.

The vigil is one of a number of events on Wednesday evening and throughout Thursday to commemorate the victims of the fire, their families and loved ones, survivors and members of the local community.

The commemorations include church services and special prayers of remembrance at the al-Manaar mosque, wreath-laying and the unveiling of a community mosaic. A silent walk – the latest to be held on the 14th of each month since the fire – began at 6pm near the tower and end at Kensington Memorial Park.

Fr Alan Everett, the vicar of St Clement’s, said the local community had been “dreading this week. The anniversary has stirred things up for many people. None of us quite knows how we’ll feel. There’s been some discussion about re-traumatisation.”

Distress and fear

He added: “Almost everybody will be massively relieved when it’s over. Most people just want to get through this week. A background of distress and fear has been building.”

Last week, banners were unfurled over the top four floors of the tower, either with a green heart, the symbol of Grenfell, or the words: “Grenfell: forever in our hearts”.

On Wednesday evening, a concert in memory of Gloria Trevisan and Marco Gottardi, young Italian architects who died in the fire, will be held in Fulham to raise funds for an annual award for Italian graduates to study and gain experience in conservation in the UK.

The couple, who had planned to get married, rented a flat on the 23rd floor of Grenfell Tower. The award would be “a lasting and fitting memorial to [their] lives and talents”, said the organisers. – Guardian