Prince William and Kate Middleton moved by a poem written by a survivor of the Grenfell Tower fire

Ayeesha, an eight-year-old child who survived the Grenfell Tower fire five years ago, wrote a poem called Never Forget. After reading it, Kate and William joined in with applause

Prince William and Kate Middleton carry a wreath to lay during a memorial service marking the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire
Prince William and Kate Middleton carry a wreath to lay during a memorial service marking the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined the bereaved and survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster as tributes were paid on the fifth anniversary of the fire.

An emotional looking Kate and William laid a wreath at the base of the tower in west London today after a powerful multi-faith service under the blazing sun.

Before the service, the couple met with survivors of the fire that killed 72 people and those who lost loved ones.

They then watched as emotional prayers, readings and choral performances took place.

Among them was a poem by eight-year-old Ayeesha, who survived the fire.

Ayeesha, survivor of the Grenfell Tower fire, reads her poem titled Never Forget

Messages of support on a wall surrounding Grenfell Tower in west London


AFP via Getty Images)

Calling herself Never Forget, she read out loud, “I’ll never forget the fire.

“I will never forget the smoke… I will never forget my friends and neighbors who did not survive.

“We cannot change the past, but we can change the future. Never forget.”

Kate and William joined in with thunderous applause after the heartbreaking reading.

Also in the service, 23 bereaved and surviving children appeared on the stage before 18 balloons were released to represent the 18 children lost in the fire, with a name read after each.

A 72 second silence was celebrated at the beginning of the service and at the end of the service all 72 names were read aloud.

Kate, 40, dressed in white, and William, 39, in a suit and tie, were then led out of the service by a group of children before being taken away.

The couple have long been supporters of the community of Grenfell and previously accompanied the Queen to meet those affected by the tragedy.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a ceremony to commemorate those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire



Most recently, they met survivors during a visit to mark the launch of the National Emergencies Trust, of which the Duke is patron, in November 2019.

Grenfell United, the bereaved and survivors group, said in a statement today: “Today we commemorate the 72 beautiful souls lost that night. So that their memories live on.

“Those in power called them ‘nameless’. They weren’t nameless. They were cherished, loved and ours.

“Five years later, another Grenfell is still a very real possibility. This government should be ashamed of its utter inaction and continued carelessness towards the 72 lives so needlessly lost.

“We are angry with the government, whose only focus remains on profit and not public safety.”

It emerged last month that the government will maintain the controversial ‘stay-put’ policy, meaning residents should remain in their homes in the event of a fire as the flames should be contained.

A key recommendation of the first phase of the inquiry was that this post-Grenfell policy should be abolished.

People lay white roses to commemorate the victims during a Grenfell Fire memorial service at Westminster Abbey in London


POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“Five years later, the government has returned to the same (stay put) policy that was in place before Grenfell.

“This policy resulted in 41% of disabled people dying in Grenfell.”

The group said to the judiciary: “What’s the point of an investigation if nothing comes of it? Look at the history of inquiries in this country. Are investigations there to slow down justice? deny justice?

“They left us looking for answers, they publicly mocked us, now they stand in the way of justice. We must pave a new way forward. We must hold those responsible accountable.”

Speaking of children who were at the heart of the events, they said: “Grenfell claimed the lives of 18 innocent children who had life ahead of them but never had a chance to fulfill their dreams.

“We cannot underestimate the impact Grenfell has had on our children. Their childhood was taken from them and the world became a very different place.”

“They, too, had to face an ugly reality — that those who had a duty of care to them were subjecting them to horrors no one should ever see.”

And of the heritage they said: “We ask that people are safe, respected and treated equally.

“However, over the past five years, the government has traded places with us at every step.

“They didn’t give us a chance to think about what a true legacy would be.

“Instead, they distracted us with their games and forced us to monitor them. But ultimately, they made us feel like the lives of our 72 loved ones were constantly being evaluated.”

Thanking the community and the general public, they added: “That night five years ago, the community and the general public from across the country came out in solidarity and opened their hearts to support our community.

“Today we remember the generosity shown to us by the public. We want to thank them for everything they did then and have done since. This support gives us the strength to keep going.”

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