NEWS
13/06/2018 23:35 BST | Updated 14/06/2018 13:31 BST

Grenfell Tower Turned Green To Mark One-Year Anniversary Of Fire

Twelve other blocks to glow green in a show of solidarity.

Grenfell Tower has been illuminated in green to mark the one-year anniversary of the devastating fire on Thursday.

Thursday marks 12 months since a small fire in the high-rise block turned into the most deadly domestic blaze since the Second World War. Seventy-two people were killed.

The 24-storey block, and 12 other buildings, were illuminated on Wednesday from 00.54am on Thursday – the time off the first 999 call – until 5am.

The tribute was the first step in a series of commemorations and vigils taking place this week as the public inquiry takes a step back.

On Thursday there will be church services and prayers of remembrance at al-Manaar mosque, wreath-laying and the unveiling of a community mosaic. 

A silent walk – the latest of a series held on the 14th of each month since the fire – will begin at 6pm at the nearby “Wall of Truth” and end at Kensington memorial park.

The tower and other buildings including Downing Street will be illuminated in green once more from 8pm, and for the following three evenings. 

The tower is now completely covered by white sheeting, with banners featuring the green Grenfell heart and the words “Grenfell forever in our hearts” emblazoned across the four highest floors.

In the streets surrounding the site of the fire, lampposts and zebra crossings have been festooned with green material, a colour which has become synonymous with the tragedy.

From 11am, there will be a service of remembrance at St Helen’s church organised by campaign group Relative Justice Humanity for Grenfell.

At midday, a moment of silence will be observed at midday by survivors and bereaved gathered close to the tower’s base and nationally.

Clarrie Mendy, who lost two family members in the fire and organised the anniversary event, said the names of the 72 victims would be read out, while 73 doves will be released outside the church.

She said: “It’s a service of healing, community, inclusivity and solidarity, to know we are not alone.

“We’ll be releasing 73 white doves. Why 73 instead of 72? One for the unknown. If there were more than 72, we will put one for the unknown.”

They will be giving out 400 white roses which people will able to carry on their way to the tower afterwards.

PA Wire/PA Images

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will join survivors, the bereaved and others for the silent march in the evening.

Yvette Williams, from campaign group Justice 4 Grenfell, said: “I think we kind of almost move from ‘did it really happen at all?’ to ‘it feels like it happened yesterday’, to looking at the struggles the bereaved families and survivors have had over the year (and realising) that it is actually a year.

“We want the nation to keep Grenfell in their consciousness. The anniversary is about love and support – the fight can start again on Friday and Saturday – and keeping that humanity going on that day.”

After the silent march, families will come together for a community Iftar to break bread with those fasting over Ramadan.

The following day, schools across the country are expected to take part in “Green for Grenfell”, a day to “celebrate the spirit of people coming together”.

Grenfell United hopes the idea will become an annual event which will continue the unity and support demonstrated by the local community after the fire.

This year, children are being asked to wear green to school and help with a community project, sharing their achievements online.

On Thursday and Friday, more than 2,000 schoolchildren across the UK will sing Grenfell From Today – a charity single inspired by Cornwall Hugs Grenfell, an organisation offering holidays to those affected.

The song is also being learned by choirs in New Zealand and America, founder Esme Page said.

Earlier, Theresa May reflected on her “absolutely shocking” first visit to Grenfell Tower, as she offered a personal apology for not meeting those affected.

In an interview with grassroots media group Grenfell Speaks, the Prime Minister said she was sorry for only talking to the emergency services in the hours after the fire.

PA Wire/PA Images

She said conversations with firefighters on June 14 last year had brought home the scale of the disaster.

The decision not to immediately visit survivors and bereaved relatives provoked a furious backlash – one which May said this week she will “always regret”.

The Tory leader told Grenfell Speaks: “I think it was when I actually came to the site and saw the tower and heard directly from the firefighters that I realised how absolutely shocking – it was really shocking to see that building.

“I began to hear more of the stories and more of the explanation of the absolute horror of what people had gone through.

“I started to understand more, the depth of the tragedy.”

Echoing her comments from earlier in the week, she continued: “I didn’t, of course, on that first visit, meet members of the community or survivors and I’m sorry for not having met them then.”

May was booed and heckled during her subsequent trip to visit the North Kensington neighbourhood.