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London mayor joins church service to remember Grenfell Tower victims

It is the same church where the Prime Minister met a group of victims, residents, volunteers and community leaders on Friday.

Sadiq Khan has joined a congregation at a church service near Grenfell Tower.

The mayor of London arrived at St Clement’s Church in the west of the city on Sunday morning as worshippers remember those who lost their lives and those who remain missing after the devastating fire.

Flowers and missing persons posters are taped to the gates of the church, while bags of donations are piled outside the door.

Mr Khan arrived with his wife Saadiya and walked silently into the church, which has been used as a relief centre in the wake of the blaze.

It is the same church where the Prime Minister met a group of victims, residents, volunteers and community leaders on Friday, as an angry crowd outside directed shouts of “coward” and “shame on you” towards her.

Theresa May held a meeting in Downing Street the next day with residents she had spoken to at the church.

Bishop Tomlin, who is speaking at Sunday’s service, said after the meeting that residents left feeling they had been listened to.

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Sadiq Khan and his wife Saadiya. (John Stillwell/PA)

Mr Khan left the church more than two hours later, having spoken to many members of the congregation as well as others who came in after the service to see him.

He said: “I’ve spent time with the local community, not just the Christian congregation, but members of all faiths here at the church, grieving, sharing their stories. And I’ve got to say some of the stories that I’ve heard will stay with me forever.

“I’ve heard stories of heroism, from Christians, from Muslims and from others, looking after their brothers and sisters, their neighbours and doing the job that we expect from this brilliant community because of the fantastic community that is here in this part of London.”

Mr Khan, who said it was “humbling” to attend the service, paid tribute to the community for its resilience but said a feeling of anger remains.

He said people are “angry not simply at the poor response in the days afterwards from the council and the Government, but the years of neglect from the council and successive governments”.

He said there is a feeling among people that they have been treated badly and not understood by the council because some of them are “poor, some may come from deprived backgrounds, some may be asylum seekers and refugees”.

Families who have lost their homes must be supported, he added, grieving people must be helped and lessons must be learned following the tragedy, including ensuring it is not “so hard” for those who need help to find it.

He said: “As the mayor of London I will do my bit to be the advocate, to be the fighter, and to be the champion of these people.”

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