1. ITV Report

Grenfell Tower memorial service marks six-month anniversary of fire

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot

A memorial service has been held at St Paul’s Cathedral to honour those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire, six months on from the disaster.

Some 1,500 people attended the multi-faith service, which focused on remembering the 71 victims of the June 14 tower block blaze.

A Green For Grenfell banner adorned with a heart was carried through the service and survivors and the bereaved held white roses and photographs of their loved ones

Members of the wider community, volunteers and first responders attended the service, as did the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn.

Others at the service included Sir Martin Moore-Bick, the judge leading the public inquiry into the blaze, and lead counsel Richard Miller.

Survivors and the bereaved held photographs of their loved ones. Credit: PA
The final death toll from the fire has been put at 71. Credit: PA

A Green For Grenfell banner adorned with a heart was carried in as a hymn was sung, before the Very Reverend Dr David Ison, Dean of St Paul's, welcomed the congregation.

An audio montage of voices from the Grenfell area was played to the congregation.

The Al-Sadiq and Al-Zahra Schools Girls' Choir then sang out the poignant words "Never lose hope".

The Bishop of Kensington, the Right Reverend Graham Tomlin, said he hoped the service would reassure those present that they were not forgotten by the nation, and that it would signify the start of a change.

Firefighters are among those attending the service. Credit: PA
Members of the royal family attended the service. Credit: PA

Commemorating the dead, the Dean said: "Let us remember, united in grief and hope and love", before the congregation held a minute's silence.

The Ebony Steel Band, frequent performers at the Notting Hill Carnival, played a verse of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.

Maria Jafari, who lost her elderly father, Ali Yawar Jafari, in the fire, read a poem by 13th century Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi. Mr Jafari, who had a heart condition, was pulled from the building by firefighters but died at the scene.

The Grenfell Tower National Memorial Service took place at St Paul's Cathedral Credit: PA
Jeremy Corbyn hugs a woman after the service. Credit: PA

As the St Paul's Cathedral choir sang, local schoolchildren scattered small hand-made green hearts, carried in brown wicker baskets, across the front of the Dome dais.

At the end of the service, the Grenfell banner was held aloft and carried out of the cathedral, followed by survivors and bereaved holding white roses and photographs of their loved ones.

Afterwards, mourners poured out on to the steps of St Paul's behind the Grenfell banner, clutching their flowers and photos.

Some 71 people died - 53 adults and 18 children. Credit: PA

As the hour-long service began, the council linked to the tragedy, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, observed a minute's silence at the town hall in High Street Kensington.

Council leader Elizabeth Campbell was not present at the service after some families said they would not want the council to attend in an official capacity.

She said it was only right to "respect the wishes of those involved in the service", adding: "I want them to know that we will be thinking of them."

What we know about the victims:

  • Police believe 293 people were in the 129-flat Grenfell Tower on the night of the fire, of which 223 escaped, based on CCTV and body-worn video.
  • The final death toll was put at 71, including stillborn baby Logan Gomes, following an arduous process of recovering and identifying remains from the block. Westminster Coroner Fiona Wilcox said this was "highly unlikely" to change.
  • The youngest child victim was Leena Belkadi, found dead in her mother's arms at just six months old, while the oldest was grandmother Sheila Smith, 84.
  • Three generations of the same family were killed on the 22nd floor: grandmother Sirria Choucair, 60, was found dead with Bassem Choukair, 40, his wife Nadia Choucair, 33, and their children Mierna Choucair, 13, Fatima Choucair, 11 and Zeinab Chouciar, three.
  • A total of 400 people were listed as missing in the aftermath of the blaze. One person was reported missing 46 times.
  • Bodies of some victims were so badly damaged by the fire that they had to be identified using anthropology, meaning their remains were meticulously reconstructed, and by consulting secondary, supportive evidence.
  • Inquests were opened and adjourned for 70 of the victims across 19 hearings spanning five months.
Thursday's service was held at St Paul's Cathedral.