GRENFELL Tower survivors and bereaved families were joined by hundreds of mourners including popstars Adele and Stormzy to pay silent respect to the dead one year on.
Those touched by the tragedy which claimed 72 lives gathered near the foot of the block in west London for a moving ceremony which was closed to the public.
Many arrived dressed in green, the colour that has come to symbolise the terrible events of June 14 2017.
The 72 seconds of silence which fell over North Kensington shortly before midday led a minute’s commemoration observed across the country, including at Government buildings, the Palace of Westminster and by the Queen and the Duchess of Sussex in Chester.
The Mayor of London was among those to lay a wreath at the fence still separating the tower’s hollowed skeleton from the rest of London.
Nicholas Burton, a former 19th floor resident whose wife, Maria del Pilar Burton, died in January, was the first of the bereaved to lay flowers.
White doves are released into the sky from the hands of grieving relatives who lost loved ones in the Grenfell fire. The blaze took hold in the early hours a year ago today. pic.twitter.com/TMEO5oiN3i
— Jemma Crew (@jemmacrew) June 14, 2018
He told the Press Association: “It was emotional, of course, but it felt good because everyone around is your community, they’re friends that you know so it didn’t feel uncomfortable or strange, everyone just wanted to hug or say hello.
“I was just thinking about my wife during the minute’s silence, to tell you the truth, hoping she’s OK and I got a bit emotional.
“Then you remember everyone else who died in that tower and I know that I’m lucky to have had a bit of time with my wife.”
Singers Adele, Stormzy and Marcus Mumford all attended the event, having been vocal supporters of the families affected since the fire.
Mr Burton continued: “It was quite weird, I went into the sports centre and I hear ‘Hi Nick’ and it’s Adele calling me over, who introduced me to her new husband and then Marcus comes over and we had a hug, then Stormzy comes over, they have all been unbelievable.
“I was thanking them for all they’ve done behind the scenes that no-one knows about.
“It was just nice and normal, they may travel the world and are known to millions but down on the ground they are normal people with big hearts wanting to give, this is there community as well, they feel part of it.
“That persona of being famous is out of the window and now they are part of the Grenfell community.”
Just after 2pm grieving families from a separate church service led a hushed crowd along Silchester Road to the tower.
Many held huge green hearts emblazoned with words such as “humanity”, “love”, “unity” and “grace”.
An anguished mourner collapsed to the floor weeping as the march reached the base of the site.
— London Fire Brigade (@LondonFire) June 14, 2018
Earlier, the day’s first service saw a community mosaic unveiled and a gospel choir perform songs including Bridge Over Troubled Water.
The names of all the dead, including stillborn baby Logan Gomes and Mrs Burton, were read out by different members of the community.
After each finished their turn, they said: “Forever in our hearts.”
Silence then fell over the gathered crowd, all still except for the rustle of leaves in the trees.
As the mourners stood quietly, a chill wind passed through the area, stark in contrast to the sweltering conditions on the day of the fire.
The Queen and The Duchess of Sussex observed the national silence in memory of the people who died in the Grenfell Tower fire, a year ago today. pic.twitter.com/xosrDv4FKR
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) June 14, 2018
By the time all the wreaths had been laid, however, the sun had broken overhead, bathing the streets in warm light.
Members of the public were able to watch the ceremony from a giant screen erected outside nearby Kensington Aldridge Academy.
NHS support workers had also been dotted along the road in case any residents became distressed.
Parallel commemorations took place nearby, including an 11am service of remembrance at St Helen’s Church.
Among those in attendance was Tottenham MP David Lammy, who was friends with victim Khadija Saye.
He said: “ I don’t think a year ago we could have envisaged how little support the community would be given by the local authority and the Government, and that’s in their own words.
“That has not been the best of our country.
“We need a redoubling of effort in the year ahead, it needs to be much, much better, we need to get those people housed, and we need to continue to support those in the north Kensington area that are deeply traumatised.”
A silent march is to take place around the neighbourhood on Thursday evening, attended by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.