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Moving and powerful service marks six months since Grenfell disaster

Victims vow to continue to fight for justice after memorial in St Paul's

15 December, 2017 — By Angela Cobbinah

Labour’s Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn with Nyalissa Mendy

LABOUR Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott comfort Nyalissa Mendy following the national memorial service at St Paul’s Cathedral for those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire.

Nyalissa is a cousin of mother and daughter Mary and Khadija Mendy who died in the disaster that claimed 71 lives exactly six months ago.

She was one of 1,500 people who attended the multi-faith service, around half of whom were bereaved families and survivors, and the rest from the wider community, emergency services and volunteers.

They were joined by members of the royal family and a number of politicians.

A banner bearing the “Grenfell Heart” was carried down the aisle to mark the beginning of the service, which included music by the Ebony Steel Band, the Portobello Road Salvation Army Band, a girls’ choir from the Al Sadiq and Al Zahra Schools, and the St Paul’s Cathedral Choir.

In an address the Bishop of Kensington, the Right Reverend Dr Graham Tomlin, appealed to people to reach out so that Grenfell became no only a “symbol of sorrow, grief or injustice” but also a turning point when London learned to “listen and love”.

“It was a moving and powerful service that brought everyone together and was a unified acknowledgement of the tragedy,” said Nyalissa. “Now we have to continue the fight for justice.”

Her sister Clarrie Mendy, founder of campaign group Relative Justice for Grenfell, approached the Church of England in July calling for a national memorial service.

“The service has demonstrated how people have been affected by this tragedy,” she said. “The Church has responded but the government needs to do much more. Actions speak louder than words.”

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