71 Grenfell Tower victims each to be commemorated before inquiry evidence starts

Each of the 71 victims of the Grenfell Tower fire will be individually commemorated to mark the start of evidence being heard by the public inquiry into the tragedy.

Survivors and bereaved family members will be able to memorialise their loved ones "calmly and with dignity" during a special period of hearings ahead of the oral evidence.

Mr Richard Millet QC, counsel to the inquiry, said the team was "warmly in agreement" that the bereaved could pay tribute using video, audio recordings and a range of presentations during the hearings, which will begin on May 21.

Tributes to the 71 killed in the Grenfell Tower blaze (Peter Cary/PA)
Tributes to the 71 killed in the Grenfell Tower blaze (Peter Cary/PA)

He said: "By starting the public hearings of this inquiry in this way, we can ensure that, however technical and scientific the issues may then become, however dry, however legal, we will never lose sight of who our work is for and why we are doing it".

He made the update during the first of two days of procedural hearings for the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire, chaired by Sir Martin Moore-Bick.

The probe is believed to have the largest number of core participants to date, with more than 500 survivors, bereaved families and friends, and members of the North Kensington community participating.

Tributes near Notting Hill Methodist Church as the opening statement during the public inquiry was made there (Peter Cary/PA)
More tributes to those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire (Peter Cary/PA)

Mr Millett said 532 individual and groups were granted the status, including 128 from bereaved families, 209 who were residents of the tower or visitors at the time of fire, four leaseholders who were not resident at the time and 163 from the Walkways - the three blocks surrounding the high-rise.

In addition, 28 organisations, including Kensington and Chelsea Tenants Management Organisation (TMO) and Kensington and Chelsea Council (RBKC), have been granted core participant status.

Mr Millett said the inquiry team researched more than 150 alternative venues for hearings after concerns from core participants.

It concluded that Holborn Bars, east London, remains "the best available option".

Grenfell United, the main group representing survivors and the bereaved tweeted in response: "Disappointing news regarding the Grenfell Inquiry venue.

"Holborn Bars is not a suitable location & ignores the traumatic emotional impact of travelling in deep claustrophobic tube tunnels.

"We hope common sense will prevail."

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