A memorial garden dedicated to healing, peace and justice for the community devastated by the Grenfell Tower fire has been unveiled.
The garden at St Clement’s Church, Notting Dale, stands in the shadow of the charred remains of the west London tower block.
It was a chance for London mayor Sadiq Khan and Bishop of London the Rt Rev Dame Sarah Mullally, who performed the dedication, to join members of the North Kensington community as they mark the first anniversary of the blaze which killed 72 people.
The family of one of the victims, named only as Sheila, paid around £10,000 for the intimate garden which contains shrubs, two benches and a large mosaic plaque shaped like an anchor with different religious symbols to reflect the neighbourhood’s diverse community, according to a spokesman for the diocese.
They have pledged to help continue to pay for its upkeep.
Mr Khan said: “Our love and prayers are with those who were affected by the fire at Grenfell last year. This garden is to honour them.
“It is a garden of peace, healing and justice. The fire last year shone a light on the inequalities in our city and our country – one of the richest in the world.
“It also shone a light on the resilience and solidarity of this wonderful community. It is in their honour we must find out the truth of what happened.
“We must make sure those responsible are held to account but also we must make sure that never again should a person lose their life, never again should a family grieve like these families are grieving and never again will a community be affected like this one has been.”
The tower burned for several hours and 72 people were eventually confirmed to have died.
Survivors and those who responded to the fire and helped in its aftermath – including residents, community groups and representives from the emergency services – were among the congregation at a church service held ahead of the dedication.
They heard that many people had shown both bravery and extraordinary community spirit after the tragedy.
Housing minister James Brokenshire and Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad were also among the invited guests.
Graham Tomlinson, the Bishop of Kensington, warned them all that “the next few days will not be easy and that is why we need to fix ourselves on hope”.
He said: “This service is full of symbols.
“This building offers us comfort, shelter, sympathy and a home which is especially important for those who are still waiting for theirs.”
He urged everyone to see the garden as a sign of hope every time they walk past it.