Grenfell Mourners United In Love And Grief
London, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News, app - 14th Jun, 2018 ) :"It's a bittersweet moment," said MP David Lammy as traumatised neighbours, survivors and grieving families united in communal events to mark the first anniversary since a deadly blaze ripped through a London housing block.
Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey building, was consumed by fire in the early hours of June 14 last year, with residents of neighbouring blocks looking on helplessly as dozens of people remained trapped inside.
"I was in shock and disbelief, I'm still sad, still shocked but it's good to see the community together," he told AFP. "Today is very emotional".
Jane Lanyero, a member of the local African Women's Care advocacy group, said the anniversary brought "all the memories back." "This morning, when I walked down, I was feeling cold," she said at St Helen's church, yards from Grenfell, where a memorial mass was held on Thursday morning.
Green, the colour associated with hope, decorated the church and also illuminated the tower on Wednesday and Thursday, while community members have been wearing green scarves.
Graham Tomlin, a local bishop, told AFP the anniversary had triggered mixed emotions.
"People are still grieving, still recovering. A lot of people are dealing with their memories," he said.
"There is a sense of frustration, it takes so long to get everybody housed.
"But there is positivity as well, as this community is extremely resilient. Bad memories can turn into positive ones." MP Lammy, whose artist friend Khadija Saye died in the tragedy, told the mass that it was a "bittersweet moment.
" A total of 203 households required resettling following the fire.
Around a third remain waiting to move into permanent or temporary housing, with 43 remain still stuck in hotels.
- Nation remembers - A nationwide silence was observed at midday, while the St Helen's congregation observed 72 seconds of silence in honour of the 71 people who died -- including 18 children -- and a stillborn baby.
Steve Divall, its vicar, used his sermon to praise the "incredible" spirit of solidarity in the aftermath of the tragedy, calling it "humanity at its best." "It's hard to keep it going, one year later.
"We have different ideas, different ambitions. There have been a lot of clashes," he added, highlighting how raw some wounds remain.
Many believe that the disaster could have been prevented and also blame the authorities for a lack of support.
"There is hope but also frustration. So little has been done for the victims," Lanyero added.
The end of the service attended by several hundred people carrying white roses and wearing green scarves saw the release of numerous white doves.
The congregation then walked to the base of the tower, holding photos of victims, heart-shaped balloons and placards displaying the words "unity", "respect" and "humanity".
Dozens of bouquets were placed at the foot of the tower, which is now hidden by a white tarpaulin, at a section of fencing known as the "wall of truth" where words of tribute have been written.