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PR 32 Cornwall Remembers Grenfell 7 Years on: new plaque and Bishop's prayer signal iron-cast solidarity

PRESS RELEASE: June 10th, 2024



As London prepares to mark the 7th anniversary of Grenfell Tower Fire, 300 miles away, the Cornish charity, Cornwall Hugs, has added an iron-cast memorial plaque to Grenfell Street, Mousehole, to remember the 72 people who died on June 14, 2017. Since the tragedy, the deadliest residential fire since WW11, the respite charity has welcomed hundreds of Grenfell guests to Cornwall and a special bond has grown between the communities, with over 1,000 individuals and businesses enabling the holidays. Continuing this solidarity, churches across the county from Truro Cathedral to St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly, are joining in a 📹 prayer for Grenfell written specially by the Right Revd Hugh Nelson, Bishop of St Germans. 


Without remembrance, no learning and no change

In the week following the fire, Cornwall Hugs Grenfell set out a vision on Facebook to offer Cornwall’s natural sanctuary to survivors, the bereaved and firefighters. In October 2023 the charity welcomed it’s 500th guest. Many families have been hosted by the harbour village of Mousehole and in 2019 Grenfell families unveiled a special street sign with a green Grenfell heart 💚, in the village’s ancient street, coincidentally already called Grenfell Street (📹 3’36 in).. As the years pass, the new memorial plaque will remind visitors of the date of the tragedy and its great toll. It honours the 72 who died, including 18 children, and celebrates the solidarity - the spirit of ‘One and All’ - between the communities.


‘So many people stop and take photos of the unique street sign but increasingly we hear them struggling to remember the facts about the fire,’ said Cornwall Hugs Founder, Esmé Page. ‘Remembering Grenfell is vital because this was an avoidable tragedy. And without remembrance and solidarity, there will be no change. If we don’t support Grenfell United’s fight for justice and change, we will see more cladding fires - like the one in Valencia this year that killed 10 people. Learning from the mistakes is key and academics from Southhampton and Oxford Universities are now working on how to include Grenfell in educational settings. Thousands pass through Mousehole each year and we hope this little plaque plays its part to anchor that remembrance and that opportunity to learn, especially for the next generation.’


The new plaque is placed midway down the way to enable children and those in wheelchairs to read it more easily (text below). 40% of Grenfell Tower’s disabled residents died in the fire. 


Bereaved survivor Hanan Wahabi whose daughter helped unveil the street sign in 2019 said of the new plaque, ’My daughter Sara and I would like to thank the community in Mousehole for continuing to remember with us and our community. Remembering is key to ensuring that the 72 people who lost their lives are never forgotten and that lessons are learned.’ Hanan, Sara (8 at the time of the fire) and family escaped from the ninth floor but they lost Hanan’s brother, his wife and three children, who lived on the 21st. Hanan now sits on the Grenfell Tower Memorial Commission which is consulting with the community on the future of the tower. 


‘This kind and heartfelt act of having a sign and plaque to remember our loved ones in a place where the people of Cornwall welcomed us soon after the tragedy, will forever form part of the Grenfell memorial. It ensures that visitors and future generations will know what happened and will be aware of the solidarity between our two communities; Cornwall and Kensington.’ 


Grenfell United, the association of survivors and bereaved with whom Cornwall Hugs has worked closely over seven years, commented, 'As always, we appreciate the ongoing solidarity from our friends in Cornwall. Although seven years on, Grenfell is far from being over, with no justice and little change seen for those still living in dangerous blocks, or disabled residents needing safe means of escape. We await our Phase 2 Report, as well as which Government will be in post to implement the recommendations from it, and hope that not just Grenfell, but building and resident safety as a whole is a priority for whoever comes to Power.' 


Patch Harvey, Coxswain of the Penlee Lifeboat, was invited by Cornwall Hugs to join survivors unveiling the ‘Grenfell Street’ sign in August 2019. He commented on the new plaque saying, ‘The Grenfell community is very dear to our hearts and we always enjoy welcoming Cornwall Hugs’ guests. At Penlee, we know just how important it is to remember and I’m glad that this little sign will help people do that for Grenfell.’


Cornwall prays for Grenfell

Cornwall Hugs work began with a Facebook post six days after the fire and the support from individuals and businesses has remained strong over seven years. Cornish church communities have played a key role and in the run up to the 7th anniversary, Bishop Hugh has issued a special prayer for them to use: 📹 prayer.

Holy God,

We pray for people and communities hurt and harmed by the Grenfell fire; Grant them your presence and peace.

We pray for people and communities carrying the consequences of injustice and inequality; Grant them your justice and judgement.

We pray for people and communities fighting for change and a better future; Grant them your healing and hope.

Holy God, holy and strong, be with the people and communities of Grenfell.

Amen


Right Rev’d Hugh Nelson, Bishop of St Germans


Esmé Page thanked the Diocese for its support saying, ‘I feel this project was divinely inspired and that God has provided every step of the way, through others’ kindness. The prayerful support of local churches has underpinned our work from the start. It’s a huge encouragement to know that seven years on, so many voices in Cornwall will be praying for the Grenfell families as they approach this very challenging time.’ 


Paying Cornwall’s respects in London

In London the Grenfell community will gather for a memorial service and for the evening Silent Walk. As at many previous anniversaries, Esmé Page will meet with families to take part and respects on behalf of over a 1,000 people in Cornwall who have welcomed them.


Text of the new plaque

Cast in iron, in the antique style to match the Grenfell Street sign, new plaque reads


💚GRENFELL TOWER FIRE

LONDON JUNE 14, 2017

This sign remembers the 72 people including 18 children who perished in the fire. Unveiled by Grenfell families, it marks the solidarity between Cornwall and Kensington, with hundreds welcomed for respite by the sea, many hosted here in Mousehole.

‘Let a stranger turn into a friend’ Onen Hag Oll - One and All. 

CORNWALL HUGS GRENFELL


The line ‘Let a stranger turn into a friend’ is a quote from Cornwall Hugs song of solidarity, written for the charity for the 1st anniversary in 2018 by Philip Stopford with lyrics by Andrew Longfield based on the words of survivors and bereaved. The song was recorded by Truro Cathedral Choir and sung in solidarity by over 6,000 voices worldwide and later used by Grenfell United in the 2020 online anniversary memorial.  The 🎵📹 video for the song was filmed with Grenfell families in Cornwall.


MEDIA CONTACT / IMAGES





IMAGES

Info in the file names. 

Credit: Cornwall Hugs (unless otherwise indicated in file name)


Cornwall Hugs (UK charity #1177796) was founded by Esmé Page in response to Grenfell Tower Fire and began with a facebook post six days after the tragedy, which claimed 72 lives and is recorded as the largest residential disaster in the UK since WW11. Public support was immediate and through the project, ‘Cornwall Hugs Grenfell’ has now welcomed 516 survivors, bereaved, displaced neighbours and firefighters to Cornwall for week-long respite holidays and continues its work of solidarity and support. The charity is volunteer-led and its work has been enabled by ongoing support from over 250 businesses as well as by 1000’s of individuals, choirs and churches throughout Cornwall and beyond. cornwallhugsgrenfell.org


Grenfell United

Grenfell United are survivors and bereaved families of the Grenfell Tower Fire, founded in the days after the fire, working together for their community and campaigning for truth, for everyone to be safe in their homes and for justice for their 72 loved ones who died. GU is a registered family association and has an elected committee that seeks to represent survivors and bereaved families. To read more about their history and highly successful campaigning please click here


Grenfell Street 💚, Mousehole.

The 200+ year old street is thought to be named for Cornishman and politician Pascoe Grenfell of Marazion (1761-1810) who was a great supporter of William Wilberforce and the anti-slavery movement. It is thought to be for his grandson, Field Marshal Francis Wallace Grenfell (1841-1925) that Grenfell Road in Kensington (and so Grenfell Tower) was named. Uncannily, it was over a year after Cornwall Hugs Grenfell began that we became aware of the street’s name on an old village map - at that point it had no street sign. Cornwall Council then kindly agreed to make a special sign made complete with Grenfell green heart. This was unveiled by survivors and bereaved, on respite with us, in August 2019 in a beautiful ceremony attended by Lord Lieutenant, Colonel Sir Edward Bolitho and the then Bishop of Truro, Right Rev’d Philip Mounstephen. Cornwall Hugs invited Patch Harvey, Coxswain of the Penlee Lifeboat, one of the charity’s closest partners, to joint the children in the unveiling. Hundreds of villagers and volunteers gathered with and Mousehole Male Voice Choir sang ‘You’ll never walk alone’.

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