Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire join victims’ families to remember 72 who died

Relatives of Grenfell Tower victims gather to remember the 72 residents killed in the fire two years ago today

  • 72 people died after inferno ripped through Grenfell Tower in Kensington shortly after 1am on June 14, 2017 
  • Small kitchen fire in London high-rise turned into the most deadly domestic blaze since Second World War
  • Bereaved families who lost loved ones in the inferno gathering for a poignant church memorial service today
  • Sabah Yousef Abdullah, who lost his wife Khadija Khaloufi, said: ‘I lost the most important part of myself’

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Survivors and bereaved families are gathering today to mark two years since a deadly inferno ripped through Grenfell Tower in west London, claiming the lives of 72 people. 

Shortly before 1am on June 14, 2017, a small fire broke out in a kitchen in the Kensington high-rise block. 

The world watched in horror as the blaze engulfed the building with terrifying speed and spread to all four sides in just minutes – in what became the most deadly domestic blaze since the Second World War. 

Seventy one people died in the blaze, with a 72nd victim dying months later in hospital. 

Among those who perished was Logan Gomes, who was stillborn in hospital, and six-month old Leena Belkadi, who died as she was cradled by her mother while she tried to escape. 

Other young victims included Jeremiah Deen, 2, Isaac Paulos, 5, Hania Hassan, 5, her sister Fethia, 3, and Biruk Haftom and Jessica Urbano-Ramirez, both 12.

Fire chiefs continue to face questions over why families were told to ‘stay put’ in their flats for almost two hours when one side of the tower was alight from top to bottom in just over ten minutes. 

The charred remains of the building

Left, Dozens of residents were trapped as Grenfell Tower became engulfed by flames in the early hours. Right, the charred remains of the building 

The graphic above shows the damage caused by the fire and those who perished on each floor during the blaze

The graphic above shows the damage caused by the fire and those who perished on each floor during the blaze

A service of remembrance is taking place at St Helen's Church in London, to mark the two-year anniversary of the Grenfell Tower block fire today

A service of remembrance is taking place at St Helen’s Church in London, to mark the two-year anniversary of the Grenfell Tower block fire today

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (left) and Housing Secretary James Brokenshire (right) are at the memorial service today

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (left) and Housing Secretary James Brokenshire (right) are at the memorial service today

Today marks two years since a fire ripped through the 24-story apartment building, killing 72 people, the largest loss of life in Britain since World War II

Today marks two years since a fire ripped through the 24-story apartment building, killing 72 people, the largest loss of life in Britain since World War II

72 people who perished in Grenfell blaze  

Anthony Disson

Bassem Choukair

Nadia Choucair

Mierna Choucair

Fatima Choucair

Zainab Choucair

Hashim Kedir

Nura Jemal

Yahya Hashim

Firdaws Hashim

Yaqub Hashim

Sirria Choucair

Logan Gomes

Abdulaziz El-Wahabi

Faouzia El-Wahabi

Yasin El-Wahabi

Nur Huda El-Wahabi

Mehdi El-Wahabi

Ligaya Moore

Jessica Urbano Ramirez

Omar Belkadi

Farah Hamdan

Malak Belkadi

Leena Belkadi

Mary Mendy

Khadija Saye

Victoria King

Alexandra Atala

Mohamednur Tuccu

Amal Ahmedin

Amaya Tuccu-Ahmedin

Amna Mahmud Idris

Maria ‘Pily’ del Pilar Burton

Marjorie Vital

Ernie Vital

Debbie Lamprell

Gary Maunders

Berkti Haftom

Biruk Haftom

Hamid Kani

Isaac Paulos

Fatemeh Afrasiabi

Sakineh Afrasiabi

Vincent Chiejina

Khadija Khalloufi

Kamru Miah

Rabeya Begum

Mohammed Hamid

Mohammed Hanif

Husna Begum

Joseph Daniels

Sheila

Steve Power

Zainab Deen

Jeremiah Deen

Mohammad al-Haj Ali

Denis Murphy

Ali Yawar Jafari

Abdeslam Sebbar

Fathia Ahmed Elsanosi

Abufars Mohamed Ibrahim

Isra Ibrahim

Mohamed Saber Neda

Hesham Rahman

Rania Ibrahim

Hania Hassan

Fethia Hassan

Marco Gottardi

Gloria Trevisan

Raymond ‘Moses’ Bernard

Eslah Elgwahry

Mariem Elgwahry

Families of the victims have gathered for a memorial service at the nearby St Helen’s Church this morning, which will set the tone for a day of remembrance.

The walls and pews of St Helen’s Church in North Kensington are decorated with green ribbons, while attendees have green sashes around their necks.

Community volunteers are wearing T-shirts bearing the message ‘forever in our hearts’.

The order of service said the event was about ‘remembrance and resilience’.

Sabah Yousef Abdullah, who lost his wife Khadija Khaloufi in the fire, said the service was about ‘paying respect’.

Speaking ahead of the memorial event, the modern languages lecturer said he had been unable to return to work since his wife died.

‘I don’t remember her, she’s always with me. I lost the most important part of myself,’ he added.

Pablo Blackwood, the youth and community manager at Queens Park Rangers football club, said memorial attendees would be experiencing a range of emotions.

‘There’s a lot of sadness and a lot of anger and a lot of resentment,’ he said ahead of the memorial service.

QPR lost three sessional staff members in the fire, as well as four participants on their courses, Mr Blackwood said.

The 46-year-old added: ‘Every day we work with young people and the community who are going through PTSD.’

The ongoing inquiry into the blaze has been paused for five days to give those directly affected ‘the time and the space in which to remember and to reflect upon their lost ones at the distressing time of the first anniversary’, counsel to the inquiry Richard Millett said.

The public inquiry into the 2017 tragedy could run into 2020 by the time all evidence is taken into account. 

Members of the grieving north Kensington community came together last night for a 24-hour vigil on the eve of the anniversary, to reflect on the 72 people who died.

At 1.30am, the names of the fire’s victims were read out at St Clements’ church and a community mosaic is to be unveiled, while wreaths will be laid and candles lit.

Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist and Grenfell survivor Leanne Mya will sing during the service, which will also be attended by Communities Secretary James Brokenshire and fire minister Nick Hurd.

Afterwards white doves will be released, and at midday today, survivors and the bereaved will gather close to the tower’s base to observe a minute’s silence. 

Karim Mussilhy, whose uncle died in the fire, said it is important to stand together and continue campaigning because ‘we want to make sure the general public understand that the issues of Grenfell are still happening today’.

He said: ‘Our plan is to come together with the rest of the community and be with each other, share some tears with each other, smiles with each other, and put our arms around each other and remember our loved ones and pay our respects.

‘We also want to be a presence to everyone else, show them that we are still here and we are still standing strong together, dignified, respectful, we aren’t going to go away, we’re not going to fade away and we’re not going to let others forget our loved ones and for us to be swept under the carpet.’

For just over a year the building has stood surrounded by white sheeting, with banners featuring the green Grenfell heart and the words ‘Grenfell forever in our hearts’ emblazoned across the four highest floors.

Earlier this week, Theresa May issued a grovelling apology for her handling of the Grenfell blaze – admitting it was ‘not good enough’.

The Prime Minister said she would ‘always regret’ failing to meet survivors in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.

Mrs May conceded that the handling contributed to a feeling that she ‘did not care’ about the plight of victims. 

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire also admitted to MPs that progress on rehousing those left homeless in the blaze had been ‘too slow’.

The community will soon vote for representatives to sit on a commission to determine its fate.

Legal responsibility for the land will be handed over to the Government later this month.

From early evening on Friday, a multi-faith vigil will be held in the area surrounding the high-rise, followed by the silent walk that has taken place on the 14th of each month for two years.

Like last year, it is understood that survivors and the bereaved will not do interviews on the day of the anniversary.

Yvette Williams, a co-ordinator of campaign group Justice 4 Grenfell, said there was an atmosphere of heaviness in the community following a series of setbacks, including the public inquiry’s first report being delayed and the news that any criminal charges will come after the probe has concluded. 

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire (left) was among those at the service of remembrance this morning

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire (left) was among those at the service of remembrance this morning

The event highlighted several fire-safety issues in London's high-rises, particularly the use of aluminum-and-plastic cladding that proved highly flammable in the Grenfell blaze

The event highlighted several fire-safety issues in London’s high-rises, particularly the use of aluminum-and-plastic cladding that proved highly flammable in the Grenfell blaze

People observed a memorial yesterday evening, during a vigil to mark the second anniversary of the Grenfell tower fire

People observed a memorial yesterday evening, during a vigil to mark the second anniversary of the Grenfell tower fire

People are ‘increasingly feeling a sense of injustice, rather than a walk to justice,’ she said.

She said: ‘For us the anniversary is always focused on the 72. So you kind of think, what have we really done for them over the last two years, how many steps towards justice have been made?’

She added: ‘I think foremost in people’s minds will be: 72 dead, still no arrests, how come?

‘And I think that people are seeing almost a two tier system. We have had prosecutions – we’ve had loads of them, and they’ve been the opportunists and fraudsters that said they lived in the tower and claimed public resources.

‘The major players … we’ve heard a few people have gone in for questioning, they’re roaming free.’

Staff at Kensington and Chelsea Council will also gather at the town hall to pay their respects.

Council leader Elizabeth Campbell said: ‘Our thoughts are with those families who lost their loved ones two years ago.

‘Council staff have never stopped caring and never stopped working, and this will continue to be the case when every family is in their new home and starting to rebuild their lives, and we are now working with our NHS colleagues, who will be crucial in this long-term effort.’

The Prime Minister said today: ‘Two years on from the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower, my thoughts remain with the bereaved, the survivors and the whole North Kensington community.

‘Grenfell was both a local and a national tragedy with far-reaching consequences. In the months and years ahead, I hope future Governments will continue to do everything necessary to support all those affected and make certain the voices of the Grenfell community are heard.

‘We must not forget all those who lost their lives and we must ensure that the Inquiry continues its important work to establish the truth of what happened that terrible night and why.’

Mr Brokenshire said: ‘I am committed to continuing to support the community and remembering those whose lives were lost on 14 June 2017.

‘This Government is determined to improve building safety, to search for the truth and to ensure no such tragedy can ever happen again.’

Timeline of tragedy: How the Grenfell fire unfolded 

Here are the key moments that have defined the aftermath of the tragedy over the past two years.

– June 14 2017

At 12.54am, a call is made to the London Fire Brigade reporting fire has broken out in a fourth floor flat.

Barely half an hour later, at 1.29am, flames have now climbed to the top floor of the 24-storey block.

– June 28 2017

Retired Court of Appeal judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick is appointed to lead a public inquiry into the disaster.

He provokes alarm among survivors and bereaved families by initially expressing doubt that his investigation would be broad enough to satisfy all.

A public consultation is launched to determine the probe’s terms of reference.

– July 28 2017

The Government announces an independent review into building regulations will be led by Dame Judith Hackitt.

It is alleged that they are complex, unclear and leave enough wriggle room for contractors to cut corners on safety.

– August 15 2017

The terms of reference of the inquiry are announced.

It will include the cause of the fire and the actions of authorities before and after the blaze, but not broader concerns about the treatment of social tenants in Britain.

– September 19 2017

The Metropolitan Police announce a widening of their criminal investigation, with detectives now considering individual as well as corporate manslaughter charges.

– November 16 2017

More than five months on from the disaster, police say their final estimate for the number of people who died in the fire is 70, plus a stillborn baby.

– November 30 2017

A petition, backed by singer Adele, is set up urging Mrs May to appoint additional panel members alongside the inquiry chairman.

It is feared that Sir Martin will lack valuable first-hand experience of life as a social tenant in a multicultural neighbourhood.

– December 22 2017

Theresa May turns down the request from survivors and bereaved families to overhaul the public inquiry, saying Sir Martin has the ‘necessary expertise to undertake its work’.

– January 29 2018

Maria del Pilar Burton, a 74-year-old survivor known as Pily, dies in palliative care. She had been in a care home, unable to return to her husband Nicholas, since the fire.

She comes to be considered the 72nd victim of the fire.

– February 9 2018

Serial conman Anh Nhu Nguyen is jailed after pretending his family died in the fire to gain around £11,270 from charities and the local council.

He is the first of 15 people to be convicted and jailed for fraudulent claims totalling more than £700,000 in relation to the fire.

– May 17 2018

Dame Judith Hackitt recommends ‘fundamental reform’ to improve fire safety in her report, which identifies a ‘race to the bottom’ in building safety practices with cost prioritised over safety.

Ministers promise to consult on banning flammable cladding.

– May 21 2018

The inquiry begins seven days of commemoration hearings to the dead, starting with a heartbreaking tribute to the fire’s youngest victim, stillborn Logan Gomes.

– June 4 2018

Sir Martin’s inquiry begins hearing opening statements from lawyers and a batch of expert reports are released.

– June 14 2018

A year after the fire, survivors and bereaved relatives gather for a church service and observe a minute’s silence by the tower.

They are joined by rapper Stormzy, and later Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Inquiry hearings pause for a week.

– June 21 2018

Firefighter evidence begins. It ends with Commissioner Dany Cotton telling the inquiry she would change nothing about her team’s response on the night of the fire.

Survivors and the bereave react with anger.

– July 18 2018

Scotland Yard announces detectives have carried out three interviews under caution and more will take place over the coming months.

– September 12 2018

Inquiry chairman Sir Martin resists pressure to make ‘urgent’ safety recommendations, including a ban on flammable cladding, instead proposing a formal process where suggestions can be made.

– September 30 2018

The Government bans the use of combustible cladding on all new residential buildings above 18 metres, as well as schools, care homes, student accommodation and hospitals.

– 3 October 2018

Survivors, those who lost family in the fire and local residents begin giving evidence at the inquiry.

– 12 October 2018

Tests on soil and dust reveal ‘huge concentrations’ of potential carcinogens around Grenfell Tower, the Guardian reports.

Preliminary results from Professor Anna Stec’s study reveal toxins that could have health implications for residents.

Campaigning group Grenfell United writes to ministers requesting ‘urgent detail’ and a public meeting.

– 12 December 2018

The first phase of the inquiry ends. Sir Martin announces the second phase is unlikely to begin until the end of 2019.

He also announces they are hoping to move to a west London venue for the next phase, after prolonged criticism from the Grenfell community about the inaccessibility of its current location.

– March 6 2019

No charges are likely to be brought in the criminal investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire for at least the next two years, police say.

The Metropolitan Police said it would be ‘wrong’ not to wait for the final report of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry which will come after the probe’s second phase.

Survivors call the wait ‘extremely frustrating and disheartening’.

– May 17 2019

The first report of the public inquiry, due to be released in Spring, is delayed until October. Campaigners call the delay ‘disgraceful’ .

– May 30 2019

The Prime Minister appoints two new inquiry panel members to sit alongside Sir Martin in the second phase of the probe – a ‘step forward’ welcomed by survivors.

Stillborn boy and baby girl cradled in her mother’s arms among the victims who perished as devastating inferno swept through tower block 

Each one somebody’s father, mother, brother, sister, relative, friend or neighbour, victims of the Grenfell fire ranged in age from an unborn baby to an 84-year-old woman.

Whole families were wiped out, including six members of the Choucair Family and five members of the Hashim Family, who lived on the 22nd floor. Five members of the El-Wahabi family died on the 21st floor. 

The final victim was Maria Del Pilar Burton, who suffered from serious long-term health issues, and died in hospital in January 2018.

Grieving relatives reveal human toll of Grenfell Tower

Victims of the Grenfell fire were remembered during seven harrowing days of commemorations as the inquiry into the disaster opened at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel.  

The families and friends of three victims, Marco Gottardi, flat 202, Abdeslam Sebbar, flat 81, and Sheila, flat 137, chose not to publicly commemorate their loved ones.

Here are the people who lost their lives in the blaze, in the order they were remembered by their family and friends:

– Logan Gomes (floor 21)

Logan Gomes was stillborn in hospital after his mother Andreia escaped from the 21st floor with her husband and two young girls.

His mother and father gave an emotional tribute to their ‘beautiful sleeping angel’ sharing images of them cradling the newborn, whose due date was in August.

His father, Marcio Gomes, said through tears: ‘He might not be here physically but he will always be here in our hearts, and will be forever. I know he’s here, with God, right next to me, giving me strength and courage to take this forward.’

– Denis Murphy (floor 14)

Father-of-one Denis Murphy, 56, was described as the ‘lynchpin’ of his family whose ‘cheeky smile’ was hard to forget.

His sister Anne-Marie recalled during her tribute how Mr Murphy had once joined the Unite bus union to the bafflement of his family, as he could not drive a car, ‘let alone a bus’.

Denis Murphy 

Denis Murphy 

‘The reason is that he wanted to be a part of the campaign to make his voice and the voice of the community in Grenfell Tower heard.’

–  Mohamed Amied Neda (floor 23)

Mohamed Amied Neda, 57, lived on the top floor of the block and died from injuries consistent with a fall.

Known as Saber, he had fled the Taliban in Afghanistan to find a new home in Britain with his wife Flora and son Farhad, moving into Grenfell Tower in 1999.

His final recorded words – left for family members on the night of the fire – were played during one of the inquiry’s more harrowing moments, and were: ‘Goodbye, we are leaving this world now, goodbye. I hope I haven’t disappointed you. Goodbye to all.’

–  Joseph Daniels 

Little was disclosed about Joseph Daniels during a presentation on the first day of the inquiry, as his son, Samuel, spoke for only seconds.

The 69-year-old moved to Grenfell Tower in 1982.

Samuel requested no applause before saying: ‘The events of that night took his life and all traces of his existence from this world. He stood no chance of getting out and this should never have happened.’

– Mary Mendy and Khadija Saye (floor 20)

Mary Mendy was remembered in presentations across two days, during which it was heard she had moved to the UK from Gambia, west Africa, in the 1980s.

The 54-year-old died in Grenfell Tower with her daughter Khadija Saye, having moved there in 1993.

A statement by her niece Marion Telfer read at the inquiry said: ‘She was warm and kind, she welcomed everyone into her home. Grenfell Tower was a place all her family and friends could find shelter if they ever needed it.’

Mary Mendy and Khadija Saye 

Mary Mendy and Khadija Saye 

One of the fire’s most high-profile victims, Khadija Saye, 24, died when she was on the cusp of a major career breakthrough.

Her friend David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, was among those on stage during her commemoration, which featured a snippet from the BBC documentary she had been due to appear in, following her as she launched a photography exhibition in Venice.

Her father, Mohammadou Saye, said in a statement read by his solicitor: ‘Khadija said to me one day: ‘Daddy, I’m in love with images’ – it was this passion that Khadija pursued to the end because it gave her great satisfaction and brough her some joy and happiness.

– Debbie Lamprell (floor 19)

The 45-year-old Debbie Lamprell, who worked front of house at Opera Holland Park (OHP), was described as always having a smile on her face and living a ‘happy and fulfilled’ life.

In a statement, her mother Miriam said: ‘She really loved her work, she was really, really happy with her life.

Where the victims were found 

Where the victims were found 

‘You rarely saw my Debbie without a smile. People took to Debbie because she was a friendly, easy person.’

– Maria del Pilar Burton (floor 19)

Maria del Pilar Burton is now considered the 72nd victim of the fire, despite dying in January after experiencing a stroke.

The 74-year-old, known as Pily, suffered from dementia, a condition which worsened badly after the disaster and meant she never left hospital, her husband, Nicholas Burton, said.

Her vibrancy and passion for cooking, fashion and dancing were among the qualities remembered by Mr Burton during the inquiry, who said: ‘She was a unique, beautiful, exceptional person until this tragedy had taken it away.

‘It took away her dignity and everything we had in this world. And let me tell you, no matter what indignities my wife had to suffer, my Pily was perfect.’

–  Rania Ibrahim, Fethia Hassan, Hania Hassan (floor 23)

Mother Rania Ibrahim died alongside her two young children Fethia, a four-year-old known as ‘Fou Fou’ and Hania, three.

The 31-year-old live-streamed the scene of the blaze to friends and family on social media, who watched helplessly as her flat became clogged with smoke.

Her husband, Hassan Awadh Hassan, who was in Egypt at the time, told the inquiry:  ‘I’m not just standing here crying because my wife is gone. My wife and my kids are very lucky. Because the way it’s going, I wish if I go like them. I wait for my day.’

– Choucair family 

Three generations of the Choucair family, who lived in two flats on the 22nd floor, were wiped out by the blaze.

Nadia, 33, her husband Bassem Choukair, 40, their three children Mierna, 13, Fatima, 11, and Zainab, three, died along with their grandmother Sirria, 60.

Hisam Choucair, brother of Nadia and the son of Sirria, told the room: ‘In one night I have lost half of my family. I feel like a stranger now. It has destroyed everything. I feel like part of me has been taken away.’

The Choucair family 

The Choucair family 

The inquiry heard how Sirria was particularly close to her granddaughter Zainab, who she looked after while Nadia worked as a school teacher.

Mr Choucair’s sister Nadia was a ‘fighter’ who knew her mind and would always stand up for her rights like their mother, he said.

Her husband Bassem was an ‘excellent father, kind, loving, considerate,’ who was an ‘incredibly conscientious’ supervisor at Marks and Spencer.

Eleven-year-old Fatima was described as a gifted gymnast, while Mierna, 13, loved sports and drawing, and could not choose whether to become a doctor or lawyer.

– Hesham Rahman 

Hesham Rahman, 57, died in his flat on the top floor of Grenfell Tower.

During a tribute to him, a moving video montage was played, closing with Omar, his infant relative, saying: ‘We would do so many things together. Those things have sadly come to end.’

His nephew Karim Mussilhy read a poem he had written in February 2016: ‘My will, for who will remember me one day.

‘Remember my presence before my departure. To see a smile on your face when I’m gone, a prayer from your heart.

‘No tears or sadness near my grave.

‘If we shared a memory that’s in your heart, always remember it with a smile.

‘For who will remember me one day, remember my presence before my departure.’

– Anthony Disson 

Anthony Disson, known as Tony, was hailed as a doting grandfather who encouraged his children’s passion for boxing.

The 65-year-old was remembered by his family at the inquiry, including son Alfie, who said he had named his baby girl after him.

He said in a video recorded message: ‘If he was here now he’d be over the moon at what we called her.’

– Zainab Deen and Jeremiah Deen (floor 14)

Mother Zainab Deen, 32, died in Grenfell Tower alongside her young son Jeremiah.

She had moved to the UK when she was just 16 and had once dreamed of becoming a pop star.

Her family said  she was a ‘beautiful, smart, warm, caring and a confident and outgoing young woman’ with a ‘lively personality’ and ‘great sense of humour’.

Zainab Deen 

Zainab Deen 

One of the youngest victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Jeremiah Deen, two, was said to be ‘loving, full of life, liked playing football and loved exploring and adventuring’.

He was found at his mother’s side on the 14th floor of the block.

He had attended the Clare Garden nursery until his ‘sweet life was cut short’ in the June 14 blaze, his family said, adding: ‘We cannot dwell on the sadness or keep asking the question ‘why this happened to our family’. Neither will we find a reason why such a handsome and cheerful boy was taken from us at the age of two.

–  Ali Yawar Jafari (floor 11)

The 82-year-old was fondly remembered by his family as an animal-lover who once waited for three days to free a pigeon whose legs were trapped in twine.

The grandfather, who was pulled from Grenfell Tower by firefighters after losing contact with his family, was described as a ‘kind man and husband’ who loved travelling.

His son Hamid Ali Jafari said in a video tribute: ‘I think the happiest moment he had was when my son was born, because he was attached to him a lot.

‘Both of them were connected to each other so sometimes when I see my son I feel like my dad’s soul came in my son.’

– Gary Maunders (floor 19)

Gary Maunders, 57, was remembered at the inquiry as an avid Manchester United fan who swapped the football for the paintbrush when a top-level career failed to materialise.

He was found in his top-floor flat in Grenfell Tower – and buried in the kit of the football team he cherished.

Ms Pumar, the mother of his two youngest children, said: ‘The loss of their father, his love and presence in their life has been devastating for our children. They miss their dad more than words can describe and have been left with a huge part of their lives missing.’

–  Majorie Vital and Ernie Vital  (floor 19)

Mother and son Majorie Vital, 68, and Ernie, 50, lived on the 19th floor of Grenfell Tower.

Their bodies were so badly burnt in the fire they had moulded together, her surviving son, whose name was not given, said in a film shown to the room.

He said: ‘It reminded me, as a child growing up he was constantly in my mother’s arms, and when they were fused together it symbolised to me their level of closeness that they had, that umbilical cord, that my brother still relatively had intact.’

–  Victoria King and Alexandra Atala  (floor 20)

Mother and daughter Victoria King, 71, and Alexandra Atala, 40, were commemorated in a brief statement sent by an aunt who lived in Australia.

Ms King and her sister Penny Pearce had only recently restored contact following years of separation.

Alexandra Atala 

Alexandra Atala 

She said: ‘Eventually, thanks to the Salvation Army family tracing I was able to get in touch with her and my niece, Alexandra, living in Grenfell Tower.  If this had not been the case, no family member would have known they had perished as no-one knew they were still living there.

‘The  time we had back being in touch meant a great deal, I wish it had been much longer. They were, and are, still together and that is what is important. The fire is a tragedy for all of us.’

–  Tuccu-Ahmedin family (floor 19)

Mohamednur Tuccu, 44, his wife Amal Ahmedin, 35, and their three-year-old daughter Amaya Tuccu-Ahmedin, all died. Amna Mahmud Idris, 27, was visiting her cousin Ms Ahmedin at the time of the fire and also died.

Ms Ahmedin’s sister Feruza Afewerki said: ‘Those we grew up with, who shared our fondest memories with, celebrated and mourned, have had their lives stolen from them while the whole of London watched.’

Winta, whose last name was not given, said ‘cheeky’ Amaya was the love of her mother’s life and her sister Ms Ahmedin an incredible mother.

–  Miah-Begum family (floor 17)

Kamru Miah, 79, Rabeya Begum, 64, Mohammed Hamid, 28, Mohammed Hanif, 26 and Husna Begum, 22, were found on the 17th floor.

Their sole surviving immediate family member, Mohammed Hakim, said: ‘I can say with my hand on my heart that I am extremely proud of my family  remaining close to each other in their last moments before passing away.

‘I am even more proud as a brother that my siblings did not leave my parents behind, even though they might have had the chance to escape.’

Mr Hakim’s parents, who were born in Bangladesh, had mobility issues. His father had experienced two strokes and a heart attack.

He described him as dedicated father and husband with a heart of gold who loved action movies.

His mother was ‘beautiful, loving and generous’ and full of love and laughter.

Where the survivors were rehoused 

Where the survivors were rehoused 

Mohammed Hamid, he said, was ‘a trooper, a lionheart, brave and loyal’.

His other brother, Mohammed Hanif, was talented at drawing and design and loved animation and sci-fi movies.

His sister Husna Begum – the family’s ‘perfect little star’- valued her friends and family and would never forget an anniversary or birthday.

– Fathia Ali Ahmed Elsanosi, Abufars Ibrahim and Isra Ibrahim (floor 23)

The 73-year-old was found on the 23rd floor alongside her children Abufars Ibrahim, 39, and Isra Ibrahim, 33.

Her sister Hayat Elsanosi said in a statement read through a friend on Thursday afternoon: ‘Fathia came to this country as a refugee seeking security and safety after her struggle with the regime in Sudan, where she and her children had been subjected to harassment.

She felt safe here in London. Because of the way she died, this now feels like a illusion for us and definitely for her.’

Said Essaouini, the husband of Isra Ibrahim, said he believed she could have escaped but did not want to leave her mother.

He said: ‘I will never find no-one like her, never ever, ever a woman like Isra again, and I am ripped up to pieces, only God knows how much I’m ripped up,’ he added.

The brother of Mr Ibrahim, who he called Fras, said he was a very brave man who loved cooking.

– Ligaya Moore 

Ligaya Moore, 78, loved her Grenfell Tower flat on the 21st floor as it made her feel on ‘top of the world’.

She had lived in the UK for 43 years and enjoyed long walks with friends across London.

Her friend Nenita Bunggay said during an emotional tribute that Mrs Moore was her ‘mother, sister, everything’, adding: ‘She was so proud to live in Grenfell. She would always say every time we walked past: ‘Nenita, that’s my building, 21st floor. It’s a big building and I love it so much, even though I’m alone there, I love seeing it every day.’

– Vincent Chiejina (floor 17)

Vincent Chiejina, 60, was found dead on the 17th floor of the tower, on which he lived.

In a video, his younger sister Obi told of how the pair had spent their early years in Nigeria before their family moved to the UK.

As a teenager he loved science fiction and ‘watched religiously’ Star Trek, while he excelled at maths in school.

His sister said: ‘I think he was also quite good at looking after people who were quite vulnerable like himself, so would he never reject anybody just because they were less privileged than himself, and he was always good at spotting that, not exploiting it, but wanting to quietly support them with whatever troubles they had but also making them feel good.’

-The El-Wahabi family (floor 21)

Father Abdulaziz, 52, wife Faouzia, 41, and children Yasin, 20, Nur Huda, 16, and Mehdi, eight, all died.

Abdulaziz, a porter at University College London Hospital for 22 years who was known as ‘Aziz’, was described as a ‘popular colleague known for being kind to his patients’.

Born in Morocco, he moved to the UK as a child and became the heart of the family when his father died.

Mother Faouzia El-Wahabi, was remembered as a wonderful baker who had a talent for sewing.

Yasin was a university student who studied part-time so he could continue his contributions to the community, officiating as a football referee at local games.

Nur Huda was in the middle of her GCSEs when she died and was described as an inspiration to those around her.

‘We all wanted to be like her,’ Mariam El-Wahabi, her younger cousin, said.

The youngest, Mehdi, was described by his head teacher as a ‘true team player’ who loved sports and was particularly talented at karate. He was the ‘baby’ of the family who collected toys and displayed them on his bedroom desk.

‘It is difficult knowing that Mehdi will never be able to play with us ever again,’ his nine-year-old cousin Sara said.

– Khadija Khaloufi 

The 52-year-old was remembered by her husband of 27 years, Sabah Abdullah, as a unique person who always tried to make people feel comfortable.

They lived together on the 17th floor, and she was always thinking of and helping her friends and neighbours.

He said their children could not believe what happened to her, adding: ‘I am not trying to make my wife an angel or something,  but to them she was more than an angel.’

Her younger brother was not able to attend due to delays with his visa application.

– Jessica Urbano Ramirez (floor 20)

Twelve-year-old Jessica was just two weeks away from celebrating her 13th birthday with a sleepover with friends.

Her older sister Melanie said: ‘Jess was reaching that age where you just begin to plan your future.

Jessica Urbano Ramirez 

Jessica Urbano Ramirez 

‘Listening to some of these other pen portraits this week has been difficult for us as we all wish she could have done more and fulfilled her potential.’

– The Kedir family (floor 22)

Hashim Kedir, 44,  died with his wife Nura Jemal, 35, daughter Firdows Hashim, 12, and sons Yahya Hashim, 13, and Yaqub Hashim, six.

The family were remembered during a long and poignant series of tributes, which included a video of Firdows singing in front of her school.

Mr Kedir’ father died barely two weeks on from the fire, the inquiry was told.

Relative Assema Kedir Habib said in a statement: ‘I still have a problem accepting the fact that the UK, one of the most powerful countries in the world, could not do anything more in the year 2017 to save them. To save what was left of them.’

– Steve Power (floor 15)

Steve Power ran into the burning Grenfell Tower to make sure his daughter, Sherrie was awake.

The 63-year-old father-of-five was an old-school dance DJ who, despite his white Irish heritage, was known to shout ‘Jah Rastafari’ during sets.

He died with his three devoted dogs wrapped around him, his daughter told the inquiry, adding: ‘He needs justice, all the victims do, because as much as he loved that block he didn’t deserved to die in it.’

– Eslah and Mariem Elgwahry (floor 22)

Mother and daughter Eslah and Mariem Elgwahry died together on the top floor of Grenfell Tower, while brother Ahmed listened to the horror over the phone.

Mariem was remembered for her family-orientated approach to life and her appetite for challenges, ranging from paragliding to endurance events. She had been scheduled to attend an interview for her ‘dream’ job on the morning that she died.

Mariem Elgwahry 

Mariem Elgwahry 

Little was said about Eslah by her son during a poignant commemoration at the inquiry, simply that she was an excellent Egyptian cook in poor health.

Ahmed Elgwahry said: ‘But what I will say is that my mother truly touched many hearts and was a strong woman who raised Mariem and I on our own since my father passed.’

– Berkti Haftom and Biruk Haftom (floor 18)

The 29-year-old Eritrean mother was 10 weeks pregnant when she died.

Berkti Haftom had fled her conflict-ridden home country when she was young, leaving behind a two-year-old son, Nahom Tesfay. She later gave birth to Biruk Haftom, who was 12 when he died in Grenfell Tower.

Her sisters said in a statement read to the inquiry:  ‘Our sister Berkti was a brilliant mum. She gave so much love to her sons. Biruk loved her, Nahom loved her and she loved them in return.

Biruk Haftom had celebrated his 12th birthday a few months before the fire.

His family said in a statement at the inquiry: ‘Biruk died with his mum. We have no doubt that our sister would have been holding and hugging him to the last, protecting and comforting her little boy, despite knowing that there was no hope for them inside that tower.

‘Biruk entered this world greeted by love, the love of his mother’s face, and we are sure he left this world looking at the love of that same beautiful face. These thoughts sustain us in our darkest hours.’

– Gloria Trevisan (floor 23)

Italian architect Gloria Trevisan, 26, was robbed of the chance to fulfil a promising career when she died with her boyfriend Marco Gottardi.

At the inquiry her employer Peregrine Bryant said ‘even in that short time she demonstrated what she could do and demonstrated what talent she had’.

Gloria Trevisan 

Gloria Trevisan 

A voiceover in a video tribute package said Gloria was a ‘beautiful girl’ whose kindness and big heart ‘didn’t go unnoticed for anyone who met her’.

Her mother told the inquiry: ‘Gloria was a girl full of life. She really loved life and, although she missed the sun, she missed the food and she missed Italy generally, she was very happy for the work and the job that she had found here, so she was happily settled here.’

– Sakineh Afrasiabi  (floor 18)

Mother Sakineh Afrasiabi, 65, lived on the 18th floor, but was found alongside her younger sister on the 23rd floor.

She loved the amazing view across London from her flat in Grenfell Tower, her daughter said in a statement read to the inquiry.

She said: ‘I am glad that my mother at least did not die alone but it terrifies me every time I think about how scared my mother and her sister must have been.’

The disabled 65-year-old grandmother should never have been housed above the fourth floor due to her ailments, the inquiry heard.

She was remembered as a big-hearted and caring mother, whose quirks included talking to birds in parks, much to the incredulity of her family.

Her son Sharok said: ‘If you want to look at the face of God, if you want to see what love is, if you are lucky enough to have your mother, just look at your mother – there she is, that’ the meaning of love.’

–  Hamid Kani (floor 18)

The 61-year-old Iranian satirist Hamid Kani died just a few weeks away from a return to the country from which, for a time, he was exiled.

Hamid Kani, who lived in Grenfell Tower for 22 years, was remembered as a good-humoured chef whose works ridiculing the Iranian regime saw him hit a travel ban.

Tributes were paid to the 18th floor resident by his friend Masoud Shahabeddin.

The ‘outpouring of love’ that followed the tragedy would have made him ‘proud’, his friend said, adding: ‘I hope this will be the legacy of all the lost souls of Grenfell Tower.’

– Isaac Paulos (floor 18)

There was an emotional commemoration made to the five-year-old who died, his father said, after being told to stay in his burning flat.

Isaac Paulos, the eldest of two little boys, was a ‘beautiful little boy, with so much potential’, the inquiry heard.

The youngster loved school, taekwondo and swimming, he recalled, while teachers spoke of how the outdoor park was his favourite place.

His father Paulos Tekle said: ‘I want to know why I was physically stopped from leaving the flat at about 2am. Why we were kept inside for so long? I want answers. If I had not listened to the fire brigade my son would have likely been alive today.’

– Mohammad al-Haj Ali (floor 14)

The 23-year-old Mohammad al-Haj Ali had been in the process of setting up a new life in the UK after fleeing the war in Syria.

He had chosen to remain in Grenfell Tower as it burnt because he did not want to abandon a child trapped there, his friend Mahmoud Al-Karad said.

‘He was in there with a mother and her child. I told him to get out, that he should leave. His reply shows the kind of man that he was – he said: ‘How can I leave? How can I leave the child?’. He also told me to tell his family that he loved them.’

– Raymond ‘Moses’ Bernard (floor 23)

The 63-year-old Raymond Bernard, affectionately known as Moses, was hailed a hero for sheltering six Grenfell Tower residents in his top floor flat.

The grandfather-of-three, who arrived in 1969 from Trinidad and had lived in Grenfell Tower for more than 30 years, offered his bed to terrified neighbours while he awaited his fate sitting on the floor.

Raymond Bernard 

Raymond Bernard 

His dog Marley also died in the fire.

‘My beloved Ray was my modern day Moses, my hero,’ his sister Bernadette Bernard said. ‘Ray always had a smile on his face. He knew how to love without expecting anything in return.’

– Fatemeh Afrasiabi (visiting her sister on 18th floor)

Mrs Afrasiabi was born in Abadan, Iran, and was talented at sewing and painting, despite never having had a formal lesson in the latter.

In a video made by Mr Samimi, her daughters recalled how their would make clothes for their dolls.

The 59-year-old would often sing during chores, her daughter Sara said, describing her voice as ‘beautiful’ and ‘truly soothing’.

‘She loved her children, she would do everything for us,’ another daughter said.

– The Belkadi family (floor 20)

The father of Farah Hamdan wept as he paid tribute to the 31-year-old, her husband Omar Belkadi, 32, and children Malak Belkadi, eight, and six-month-old Leena Belkadi, found in her arms.

Farah Hamdan and Omar Belkadi

Farah Hamdan and Omar Belkadi

Hamdan El Alami, speaking through an interpreter, said: ‘Death has separated us, and they left me torn into pieces.

Mr Belkadi, who delivered takeaways, was like a son to him, he said, adding that he was extremely honest and would never say no to him.

The couple’s children were ‘really polite’, he recalled, and he said of his daughter: ‘There is nobody in the neighbourhood who does not know Farah, all people know her.’

 

 

 

 

Anthony Disson

Bassem Choukair

Nadia Choucair

Mierna Choucair

Fatima Choucair

Zainab Choucair

Hashim Kedir

Nura Jemal

Yahya Hashim

Firdaws Hashim

Yaqub Hashim

Sirria Choucair

Logan Gomes

Abdulaziz El-Wahabi

Faouzia El-Wahabi

Yasin El-Wahabi

Nur Huda El-Wahabi

Mehdi El-Wahabi

Ligaya Moore

Jessica Urbano Ramirez

Omar Belkadi

Farah Hamdan

Malak Belkadi

Leena Belkadi

Mary Mendy

Khadija Saye

Victoria King

Alexandra Atala

Mohamednur Tuccu

Amal Ahmedin

Amaya Tuccu-Ahmedin

Amna Mahmud Idris

Maria ‘Pily’ del Pilar Burton

Marjorie Vital

Ernie Vital

Debbie Lamprell

Gary Maunders

Berkti Haftom

Biruk Haftom

Hamid Kani

Isaac Paulos

Fatemeh Afrasiabi

Sakineh Afrasiabi

Vincent Chiejina

Khadija Khalloufi

Kamru Miah

Rabeya Begum

Mohammed Hamid

Mohammed Hanif

Husna Begum

Joseph Daniels

Sheila

Steve Power

Zainab Deen

Jeremiah Deen

Mohammad al-Haj Ali

Denis Murphy

Ali Yawar Jafari

Abdeslam Sebbar

Fathia Ahmed Elsanosi

Abufars Mohamed Ibrahim

Isra Ibrahim

Mohamed Saber Neda

Hesham Rahman

Rania Ibrahim

Hania Hassan

Fethia Hassan

Marco Gottardi

Gloria Trevisan

Raymond ‘Moses’ Bernard

Eslah Elgwahry

Mariem Elgwahry

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