Grenfell Tower inquiry pauses as memorials held to mark anniversary
Members of the grieving north Kensington community will come together for a 24-hour vigil.
The public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire will pause for a week as a series of memorials and vigils are held one year on from the tragedy.
On Thursday it will be 12 months since a small kitchen fire in the west London high-rise turned into the most deadly domestic blaze since the Second World War.
There will be no hearings for the five days to give those directly affected “the time and the space in which to remember and to reflect upon their lost ones at the distressing time of the first anniversary”, counsel to the inquiry Richard Millett said.
Members of the grieving north Kensington community will come together for a 24-hour vigil on the eve of the anniversary, to reflect on the 72 people who died.
At 1.30am, the names of the fire’s victims will be read out at St Clements’ church.
This week Grenfell United's focus will be on coming together to support survivors and bereaved and the wider community during this difficult time. Grenfell United
On the anniversary at midday, survivors and the bereaved will gather close to the tower’s base to observe a minute’s silence.
A community mosaic is to be unveiled, while wreaths will be laid and candles lit.
The tower is expected to be completely covered by white sheeting, with banners featuring the green Grenfell heart and the words “Grenfell forever in our hearts” emblazoned across the four highest floors.
Shahin Sadafi, chairman of Grenfell United, said: “This week will be a difficult week for everyone affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. For many of us the events of a year ago are still so raw in our minds and our losses remain heavy in our hearts.
“This week Grenfell United’s focus will be on coming together to support survivors and bereaved and the wider community during this difficult time.
“We ask any media covering the commemorations to put the welfare of survivors and bereaved first at all times.”
Ahead of the anniversary, Twitter users have have been sharing images of strength using the hashtag #MyGrenfell, in a bid to avoid triggering images of the tower burning.
On Thursday from 11am, there will be a service of remembrance at St Helen’s church organised by campaign group Relative Justice Humanity for Grenfell.
Following the midday silence, the community are expected to gather at the nearby “Wall of Truth” ahead of a silent march which will set off around 7pm.
Yvette Williams, from campaign group Justice 4 Grenfell, said: “For us it’s about making sure that Grenfell stays in the public eye and is never forgotten.
“It’s also to show the bereaved families and survivors that they have a huge well of support for them out there, it isn’t just our community – nationally and internationally people just know that what happened was wrong. That helps us to stay stronger.”
In a show of solidarity, 12 tower blocks in the surrounding area will be illuminated in green.
The buildings, plus Grenfell, will be lit up from 00.54am on Thursday – the time the fire is thought to have started – until 5am. For the following four evenings they will be illuminated from dusk until midnight.
The following day, schools across the country are expected to take part in “Green for Grenfell”, a day to “celebrate the spirit of people coming together”.
Grenfell United hope the idea will become an annual event which will continue the unity and support demonstrated by the local community after the fire.
This year, children are being asked to wear green to school and help with a community project, sharing their achievements online.