Grenfell Tower survivors, bereaved and their supporters have staged a peaceful and silent monthly procession around their west London neighbourhood since the tragedy that claimed 72 lives on 14 June 2017. In emotional scenes they continued the tradition with a silent march to a vigil in memory of the victims on the first anniversary of the tragedy. There were emotional scenes close to the base of the tower, as they held up pictures of those who perished in the inferno. Their quiet dignity seemed to have been mirrored across the country as the close-knit and ethnically diverse community held vigils, prayed, released doves and ate together. The Queen and her new granddaughter-in-law Meghan, on an official visit to Chester in northwest England, were among those who observed a national silence in honour of the victims at midday. The silence was also observed in the Houses of Parliament and in government buildings. It lasted 72 seconds, one for each of the 71 people who died on the night of the fire, and one for a woman who died in hospital …
Goodbye, we are now leaving this world, goodbye. I hope I haven’t disappointed you. Goodbye to all.” A still of Mohamed Saber Nader appears on screen at the opening day of the Grenfell fire inquiry as a spine-chilling audio delivered in calm tones from his last phone call as fire tore through the 24-storey block in west London is played to survivors who broke down in tears.
Nadia Jafari, 28, recited the poignant poem, Remember Me, by 13th century Persian Sunni Muslim poet and scholar Rumi. She’d only just managed to escape the raging inferno which consumed Grenfell Tower claiming the lives of 71 people six months ago.
The final death toll from the fire that destroyed the Grenfell Tower social housing block in west London in June is 71 after two women, a mother and her daughter were added to the list of the dead.
If anything positive has emerged from this disaster, it has been the willingness of the famous and well-connected, many who live or work in the Notting Hill area and surrounding neighbourhoods to contribute their expertise to the relief efforts or just voice support for the many causes fighting the wrongs that led to the tragedy.
Grenfell Tower’s gruesome truths will finally begin to emerge as inquiry chairman Martin Moore-Bick vows to unravel the causes of what he called “a tragedy unprecedented in modern times”.