Grenfell Tower victims remembered at memorial service on fifth anniversary

(Photo: Facebook/Westminster Abbey)

A memorial service was held at Westminster Abbey today to remember all those who lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower tragedy five years ago.

The names of the 72 victims who lost their lives in the horrific fire on 14 June 2017 were read out during the service. 

The congregation included leaders of different faiths as well as Theresa May, who was Prime Minister at the time, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and Housing Secretary Michael Gove.

The service was led by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, who said that the sense of loss was "still vivid and sharp" five years on.  

"We gather on holy ground, in a place of memory and memorial, in a church at the heart of our national life, to remember those who lost their lives in Grenfell Tower; relatives, friends, and survivors," he said.

"We gather with the bereaved, and with so many others whose lives were changed on that terrible evening. Five years later the loss and the anguish are still vivid and sharp.

"We gather in sorrow and in pain. Here we renew our commitment to remember those we have lost. We gather as those who look for justice and a renewed commitment to securing safety in our homes, safety in times of fire.

"Grateful for the support of the communities and individuals that have sustained the bereaved and the survivors over the last five years, we meet in faith and hope looking to a better, safer, surer future." 

In his address, the Bishop of Kensington, the Rt Rev Dr Graham Tomlin, spoke of the "longing" for justice. 

"Today we acknowledge the pain, the darkness. We also look up and see the light – we recognise that there is also One that we can trust, a God, a God who loves justice, who promises to be with us and who sooner or later, even if it takes time, brings about justice and goodness - and we are invited to trust in his unfailing love," he said.

"For those of us who are Christians, we see that in the Resurrection of Jesus, that turned the grief of his death into the joy of Easter. So today we lament.

"We are not there yet on the journey towards the light. We name the reality, the darkness that happened at Grenfell.

"Yet we also declare hope – we declare that we are not alone in our longing for justice and resolution – that the God who has planted the desire for justice in our hearts stands with us as we seek goodness." 

Candles were lit in memory of each of the victims and the bells of Westminster Abbey were tolled 72 times. 

The choir sang Psalm 102:1, "Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my crying come unto thee."

A multi-faith service held at the foot of Grenfell Tower was joined by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who laid a wreath. 

The local Soul Sanctuary Choir sang Amazing Grace.