The tragic events of the Grenfell Tower fire in London on 14th June will live on in the memory of the nation for many years to come. Who can forget the news images of the inferno that engulfed such a huge building that was home of hundreds of people? As the stories of those caught up in the tragedy unfolded over the past few days we all began to realise the wide-ranging effects this event has had. The fire was indiscriminate male/female, black/white, Muslim/Christian/Atheist … there are no boundaries in an event such as this.
The local Catholic community has been deeply affected by the incident. Most notably Fr. Gerard Skinner and the parish community of St. Francis of Assisi, Notting Hill have been acting as an aid centre for victims. Fr. Skinner has written an article entitled “Outpouring care for Grenfell Tower community” in which he highlights the work the parish have been doing. He speaks of ‘human chains’ constantly passing boxes of donated everyday items, loading vans from his parish centre to be taken to the victims. Children are coming forward and giving up their toys for those children who no longer have any.
Fr. Skinner along with Fr. Peter Wilson and Bishop John Wilson have been on the ground offering support not just to the victims but also the emergency services and support workers. They recount:
“Over 24 hours after the disaster began, small fires still blazed, smoke obliterating sight of the higher storeys of the burnt out building. We listened to firemen, policemen and others who were there to support them in their painful work”.
Schools deeply affected – a mark on the next generation
In a further article by Fr. Peter Wilson entitled “Grenfell Tower: The Best of Humanity” we read of the impact the disaster has had upon the local people including the impact on the Catholic Schools.
St. Francis of Assisi Primary School was evacuated and the pupils housed in Sion-Manning Secondary School. One pupil aged five remains missing.
St. Charles Sixth From College has one former student still missing. Sacred Heart School for Girls and Cardinal Vaughan School for boys each had pupils who escaped from the fire. One of who was Ines Alves, the girl who took her revisions notes with her as she evacuated and sat a GCSE exam the following day!
And finally St. Charles Catholic Primary School and Sion-Manning Secondary School have pupils directly affected with pupils who have relatives either dead or injured. The pupils themselves live adjacent to Grenfell Tower and witnessed awful sights and sounds.
Urgent action required! How you can help
The Diocese of Westminster is working tirelessly to provide support to victims of the fire. The Catholic Children Society Emergency Relief Fund is raising funds for the care and welfare of children in the area. Caritas Westminster is appealing for donations in support of the work they are doing to offer immediate relief and ongoing financial, practical and psychological support to all those affected by this tragedy.
You can help support these causes in one of two ways. Either:
- Send a cheque payable to “WRCDT – Diocese of Westminster” with a note that the funds are for the Emergency Relief Fund to help Grenfell Tower victims. Please send donations to:
Mr. Paolo Camoletto,
Financial Secretary Diocese of Westminster,
46 Francis Street,
Please do continue to offer daily prayers for all affected by this tragedy. You can read both Fr. Gerard Skinner’s and Fr. Paul Wilson’s articles by using the links below.
Read “Outpouring care for Grenfell Tower community” by Fr. Gerard Skinner
Read “Grenfell Tower: The Best of Humanity” by Fr. Paul Wilson