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Grenfell 5 year memorial service.JPG
Grenfell 5 year memorial service.JPG
UK News

London bishop repeats calls for Grenfell justice as bereaved families gather in Westminster Abbey on fifth anniversary

by Sophie Drew

The bereaved families and survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire have gathered at Westminster Abbey for a memorial service and vigil.

It marks five years since the blaze killed 72 people, including men, women and children.

The Bishop of Kensington, Right Rev Dr Graham Tomlin, has met with many of the survivors in the years following the disaster.

He told Premier Christian News of the atmosphere inside Westminster Abbey during the service, saying: “It was a very poignant service in many ways; it was a whole mixture of emotions this morning.

“I think part of it was just that deep sorrow and grief that people carry still five years on from the fire, and they were carrying that grief into the into the Abbey.

“I think there is an underlying sense of anger, still, that progress that hasn’t been made, or isn't quick enough - that there's still that sense of lack of resolution, lack of justice, for what's happened at Grenfell.

“Something deeply wrong happened there, but still, no one's been held accountable for it.

“But I think also, I hope, loads of hope at the same time.

“That this is on a journey towards a better place, and a place that is more full of hope.

“It's just very good to be together for once.

“I think very often grief can kind of fragment people and communities but actually it’s very good to be together in one place in the presence of God in the Abbey.”

Bishop Graham has often spoken out on behalf of the Grenfell Tower victims, many of whom feel they cannot find closure if those responsible are not held to account. 

Speaking after the memorial service, he reiterated calls for justice, saying: “I think there are many people around here affected by the fire who would feel that, unless there are prosecutions and convictions, that those who were responsible for what happened on that night, five years ago, then justice will not be served.

“There's a deep sense, I think around here, that something deeply wrong happened at Grenfell and that no one yet has been held accountable for that and until people are held accountable, that justice will be served.”

“I know that's complex, because the whole picture of what happened here, it's not very simple to find exactly who was the one person that was responsible, or the group of people who are responsible. But that, I think, is an important part of it.

“Now, the other aspect of it is the wider building safety crisis in our nation finding some resolution.

“There are still people living in residential blocks up and down the country with unsafe cladding, like that was on there was on Grenfell.

“The government has made some progress in getting developers to pay to remedy that, but we're not there yet.

“People are still living in those vulnerable flats and residential blocks.

“That needs addressing as well as part of the part of justice.”

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