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Grenfell blaze volunteers hear tributes from Prince Charles

By PA Reporters

The Prince of Wales praised volunteers for their "fantastic" work as he visited a relief centre helping survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Charles looked at the thousands of tributes laid in memory of the victims of the tower block blaze, before meeting community and charity workers.

Members of the public flocked towards the prince as he gazed at the hundreds of bouquets, filming him on their phones.

One woman shouted "thank you very much, I'm so impressed" as he shook hands with various onlookers, later posing for photographs.

As he met groups of volunteers outside at Westway Sports Centre, near the charred north Kensington tower block, Charles thanked them repeatedly for their "fantastic" and "amazing" work.

Isabelle Alajooz (28), a volunteer for charity Shelter, said: "We told him the work we were doing was for the victims of the tower and he wanted to know how they had been immediately housed and assisted by everyone."

"It's definitely a boost," she added, when asked what it meant to have members of the royal family visit the centre.

Charles also met some of the survivors of the deadly fire, holding the hand of a man who said he had lost his family in the blaze, while another woman fought back tears after chatting with the prince.

Meanwhile, Theresa May said a "major national investigation" must take place into the decades-long use of potentially flammable cladding on high-rise towers.

The Prime Minister's call came as the Cabinet was informed 95 samples of cladding from tower blocks in 32 English local authority areas had failed fire safety tests - 100% of all samples submitted by councils.

Mrs May's official spokesman said the investigation could be conducted as a second phase of the public inquiry already announced into the Grenfell Tower blaze, which claimed the lives of at least 79 people.

The spokesman said evidence suggested use of the suspect cladding stretched back at least into the last decade.

Characterising the Cabinet response to the mounting evidence of widespread problems, he added: "It is clear everybody is concerned and everybody wants to establish what went wrong."

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