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Virtual service marks Grenfell anniversary and churches ring bells 72 times

by Cara Bentley

A virtual service was held on Sunday to remember the 72 people who died during the fire at Grenfell Tower three years ago. 

The housing block in west London went up in flames in the middle of the night leaving residents trapped in their homes as the building burnt. 

At the time, local churches and faith communities rallied round people grieving, helping families with their trauma and supporting their fight for justice against those whose mistakes caused the building to be unsafe or ignored the warning signs. 

As people can't gather because of coronavirus, this year there was an online service featuring a message from the Prime Minister and church bells rung across the country. 


The Bishop of Kensington, Rt Rev Graham Tomlin, told Premier: "I put out a message to all the churches across the diocese of London and since then it's gone national as well. So we've got over 100 churches now that will be ringing their bells at six o'clock on the evening of 14th June, 72 times one for each person who died in the fire. And then a two minute silence and then three bells for each of the three years that have gone and hopefully that will be a way the church can help the community in North Kensington to remember this really important event for them."

Grenfell United, the bereaved families and survivors group, said: "It means a lot to our families and the community that across the nation bells will ring out in memory of 72 loved ones lost at Grenfell. Thank you to all faith communities across the country that stand with our community in North Kensington to pay respect and show that 72 lives are forever in our hearts."

Bishop Graham added that it was vital the church keeps supporting the survivors and people affected: "It is really important that we do we do remember - there's been some little progress made the first phase of the inquiry, which found very clearly that the building was not compliant at the time. Now the task is to find out why it wasn't compliant and where the responsibility lies for that. 

"Obviously, the inquiry is on hold at the moment, which again is a frustration for people locally because of course they want to find resolution. It's very hard in some ways to move on with your life until you found resolution for something like this. So, there is a little bit of progress, but there's a long way to go, we've still got many buildings around the country that are covered in the same cladding that was surrounding Grenfell. 

"There are important lessons to learn about community cohesion, about listening to voices that we don't normally hear, about enabling people to have a say in the matters that really matter to them."

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