Harry pays tribute to firefighters at London Fire Brigade carol service


London Fire Brigade Carol Service

Prince Harry has paid tribute to London's firefighters, meeting those who dealt with the horrors of the Grenfell Tower disaster at the brigade's annual carol service.

The prince spoke to London Fire Brigade (LFB) commissioner Dany Cotton, who oversaw the fire and rescue service's response at Grenfell, which claimed 71 lives.

Ms Cotton said the prince praised "the work of firefighters, especially after this year".

Harry was attending the service at Westminster Cathedral without bride-to-be Meghan Markle following news of their engagement last week.

She said that going to church was important for firefighters to "mark the respect for the terrible tragedy we've seen".

Gemma Bloxham, a firefighter in Lambeth, said the prince "commended us on the work we do".

She said: "He said more people should sign up for a uniform service and that the public sector should get more money."

The prince joked with one senior firefighter about whether his desk job prevented him from sliding down traditional firefighters' poles.

Prince Harry attends the LFB carol service (Peter Nicholls/PA)

Harry also told Adam Toy, a 17-year old fire cadet from Havering, that "you should be respected for your work whatever your age".

The service included a reading by TV chef and former Great British Bake Off presenter Mary Berry, who read an excerpt from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol which focused on descriptions of pastry, custard and caramel.

Harry speaks to Mary Berry (Peter Nicholls/PA)

Mia Hilborn, the chaplain of the London Fire Brigade, led a prayer for Harry and Ms Markle, adding: "We pray that God will bless their upcoming union and that You will bless all couples.

"We give thanks for the happiness that they have brought the nation."