I’ll come back, William vows after visiting Grenfell Tower community with Queen
The royal visitors are to meet volunteers, local residents and community representatives at Westway Sports Centre.
The Duke of Cambridge vowed to return to the Grenfell Tower community as he joined the Queen at a rest centre helping those affected by the devastating fire.
William said the tragedy was “one of the most terrible things I have ever seen” during the visit to the Westway Sports Centre, near the charred remains of the high-rise building in west London.
The Queen heard how the community had rallied in the wake of the blaze and praised those who had come together, adding that their response had “come over very strongly”.
Members of the emergency services, local residents affected by the fire and volunteers were among those who spoke with the royal visitors. Harrowing cries could be heard inside the main hall of the rest centre, where evacuated families and locals have been gathering, as a group consoled one another.
Just a short distance away, the Queen and William met volunteers from the Red Cross.
As they left, a man holding a poster of two siblings who have been missing since the fire called out for the Duke to go over.
William responded that he had to leave, but shouted: “I’ll come back, I’ll come back.”
The royal visitors were greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, Ken Olisa, with the shell of the tower block visible in the distance behind them.
The Queen, dressed in bright blue, paused to speak to local residents who had gathered outside.
Meeting volunteers in front of tables stacked with donated goods, William discussed the tragedy with one, saying: “Things like that you never want to see.”
He told another: “That’s one of the most terrible things I have ever seen.”
The Queen and The Duke of Cambridge also met members of the emergency services at Westway Sports Centre in London. pic.twitter.com/9m8j4wQjwF— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) June 16, 2017
The Queen and The Duke are meeting members of the emergency services, as well as local residents and community representatives. pic.twitter.com/Mx9ZaVNSU7— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) June 16, 2017
A strong campaigner on mental health, the Duke said it was important that those affected talked about the trauma they had witnessed and urged volunteers to get the right support.
Loubna Aghzafi, a local resident, told him that many people she had spoken to were unable to share their experiences.
He replied: “They may want to eventually. They must talk about it.”
Ms Aghzafi, 42, who has been helping translate for Moroccan families caught up in the fire, told the Press Association: “I said to him ‘I was thinking about you yesterday when a woman told me her children are very traumatised’.
“I said ‘I need to get them some support’. He gave me the name of a contact of one of the charities so I need to contact them and get them to come down.
“He said ‘Please make sure to tell people that they need to talk about it’.”
The Queen and William signed a book of condolence in front of a wall plastered with missing posters describing those feared lost in the fire.
Outside, crowds applauded members of the London Fire Brigade, Metropolitan Police and London Ambulance Service as they lined up to be thanked for their bravery by the royal visitors.
On Thursday the Queen paid tribute to the ”bravery” of firefighters who battled the blaze and praised the ”incredible generosity” of volunteers offering their support.