Duke of Cambridge hails community spirit after Grenfell and Manchester tragedies

The Duke of Cambridge has praised the community spirit of those affected by the Manchester bombing and the Grenfell Tower fire as he joined volunteers rebuilding a boxing club destroyed in the blaze.

Wearing a hard hat and high visibility jacket William looked every inch like the children's character Bob the Builder, as he was put to work painting the walls of the Dale Youth Amateur Boxing Club.

His work was filmed for the the BBC programme DIY SOS which is rebuilding the club, not far from the destroyed tower in North Kensington, and creating a brand new facility, a community centre.

William talks to presenter Nick Knowles (Adrian Dennis/PA)
William talks to presenter Nick Knowles (Adrian Dennis/PA)

At one point as he met local volunteers the duke said: "Grenfell and Manchester have been competing as to who has the most community spirit, because after the terror attack in Manchester I've never known anything like it, they were amazing, they came together.

"I saw the same thing with Grenfell.

"It makes you very proud that through something so tragic and traumatic people come together like they do, and try and help each other out."

Volunteer Jason Garcia Urbano, whose young cousin 12-year-old Jessica Urbano Ramirez was killed in the fire, was among the group that chatted to the duke.

The Duke of Cambridge speaks to Jason Garcia (right) whose cousin Jessica died in the Grenfell fire and presenter Nick Knowles (left) (Adrian Dennis/PA)
The Duke of Cambridge speaks to Jason Garcia (right) whose cousin Jessica died in the Grenfell fire and presenter Nick Knowles (left) (Adrian Dennis/PA)

He said about the resilience shown by the peoples of Manchester and Grenfell: "The duke was calling it a bit of a competition, seeing who's getting the most support. I think it's great, in two terrible circumstances people are coming together to help one another.

"For me, one year on, people are still thinking about how they can support this community that has been severely damaged by what's happened. I'm all for it, that's why I wanted to get involved as soon as I found out.

"I live just across the road from the tower so I've been there from the start to now, and I just want to do whatever I can."

William joked about the quality of his work after he was given a roller and set the task of painting a wall.

But his height came in handy as he towered over volunteer Lewis Brown, who was eager to get involved after witnessing the devastating fire which killed 71 people on June 14 last year.

The duke said to Mr Brown as he came over to help with the painting: "So far so good," and laughed as he said: "you can criticise".

Mr Brown said later: "I knew he was a tall guy, not that tall. He didn't even have to reach to get up there, my roller was about six inches short.

"He said 'If I do the tall spots then you can take over later, so that's what I'm doing."

The Duke of Cambridge gets down to some wall-painting, in the company of Nick Knowles (Adrian Dennis/PA)
The Duke of Cambridge gets down to some wall-painting, in the company of Nick Knowles (Adrian Dennis/PA)

William was joined by DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles who visited the Grenfell site soon after the blaze to try to gauge if the programme could help, and the project to re-home the boxing club - which was on the first floor of the tower and now based in a car park - and create a community centre was born.

Dale Youth Amateur Boxing Club was founded 60 years ago and had been based in Grenfell Tower since 1999.

Over the years, it successfully nurtured 200 Amateur Boxing Association champions.

This is the second time the duke has appeared on DIY SOS, having previously worked with Prince Harry to help the crew convert homes in Manchester for military veterans.

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