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Candlelit vigil marks 100 days since Grenfell tragedy

Around 100 mourners gathered by the Maxilla Social Club in a community space created by local residents.

A community left devastated by the Grenfell Tower fire united in the shadow of the high-rise for a candlelit vigil, 100 days on from the fire.

Mourners gathered by the Maxilla Social Club in a community space created by local residents to offer those affected by the fire a place to come together.

Hands cupped around candle flames to protect them from the wind, around 100 members of the local community listened to prayers and stood quietly to remember the dead.

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(PA graphic)

The Bishop of Kensington, Graham Tomlin, was the first to speak, offering up a prayer for those who died on June 14, pledging not to let “their memory pass”.

He said: “We pray for all that is going on to try to discover the truth of what happened.on that night and the time leading up to it.

“We pray for truth to be revealed, we pray for justice to be done, and we pray for reconciliation to happen. We pray for a future and a hope.”

Many of those gathered shook hands with their neighbours in a show of solidarity – a community shattered but determined to come together and begin rebuilding their lives.

Deputy leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, Kim Taylor-Smith, attempted to address them, but was heckled and left shortly afterwards.

“Today we’re not here to argue, we’re here to remember the dead and the survivors so let’s keep our respect, OK?,” a relative of two people killed in the fire called out as tension flared.

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Bishop of Kensington Dr Graham Tomlin was one of the speakers at the vigil (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Samia Badani, the chairwoman of Bramley House Residents’ Association, implored those gathered to have self-belief over the coming months.

She said: “The best message I can have today, to mark the hundred days is: Listen to us. We are not going anywhere.

“We are resilient. It’s been hard, we’re grieving, we’re hurting, and sometimes we can’t function properly, but… something very unique about north Kensington is that no matter what, we put a smile on our face, we get up in the morning, we shake our neighbour’s hand and we try to move forward.

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One of the mourners says a prayer at the vigil (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“So today, it’s all down to you to say ‘no more’. Let’s do something about it together, let’s say on this day we are united.”

The group burst into song as the vigil came to an end, with a rendition of Lean On Me.

Clarrie Mendy, a relative of Khadija Saye and Mary Mendy, who perished in the fire, helped organise the vigil.

She told the Press Association: “I can’t believe 100 days have passed and there’s been no resolution, or nothing positive offered to the community or relatives, survivors, neighbours – it might as well have happened yesterday because I haven’t seen anything positive that’s escalated from this.

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Councillor Matthew Palmer also addressed the crowd (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“It’s very discomforting. And it shouldn’t be like this. Thank God we are a neighbourhood that’s able to comfort each other.

“As for lessons learned, not on the blood of my relatives and the tenants – that’s too harsh a lesson learned.

“Prevention is better than cure, and this could have been prevented if people had been listened to at the beginning.”

She added: “I remember when we was looking at Donald Trump’s 100 days in power, and what he achieved. Let’s ask this government what have they achieved in 100 days? That’s what we should be asking.”

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From Belfast Telegraph