Grenfell survivors and bereaved families said Prince William was ‘very passionate and adamant’ about them getting justice.
The Prince of Wales visited Championship football club Queens Park Rangers (QPR) on Friday, to hear how it supported those devastated by the nearby Grenfell Tower going up in flames on June 14, in 2017.
William sat in the stands of the sports ground, in Shepherd’s Bush, west London, and met several people, including 29-year-old Paul Menacer, who managed to survive the tragedy which claimed 72 lives.
Paul said: ‘I think the most important thing from it is the fact that he’s very adamant and very passionate about us as bereaved survivors getting justice – which I think is very very important.
‘The fact that we have someone in his position that is still wanting the justice and fight for us, and he made that perfectly clear to us as well that he hoped we can all get our own closures in our own sort of similar ways.’
Similarly, 37-year-old Karim Mussilhy, who lost his uncle in the blaze, said: ‘I feel like William understands the pain and the suffering this community has gone through and I also sense a little bit of frustration from him sitting in front of us yet again but not really talking about any positive changes.’
Ahead of Grenfell’s sixth anniversary coming up, Karim told how his young children, who accompanied him to the fire site on the day, have been affected.
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His daughter now needs to know the escape routes from buildings and his son has developed a stutter.
A few months after the blaze, a charity football match called Game 4 Grenfell took place, with QPR’s director of football Les Ferdinand managing a side which took on fellow former England striker Alan Shearer’s players.
Paul played in this game and then went on to mastermind the Grenfell Memorial Cup – a football event staged for the past two years.
Paul hopes the game will become a permanent fixture and invited William to join in next year, while gifting him a QPR shirt featuring the green Grenfell heart commemorating those who died.
William, president of the Football Association, said: ‘You don’t want to see me play – it’s not a pretty sight.
‘I’m playing against 18-year-olds, they’re so fit, I’m running around like an old man.
‘But I love it, as you said, for me playing football is so important – it’s about clearing head and keeping fit.’
Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Grenfell Tower Inquiry report will not be published until 2024, despite being expected later this year.
The inquiry team said the delay was necessary to ensure the report is ‘complete and accurate’ and conveys a ‘definitive version of events’.
But campaign group Grenfell United, which represents survivors and bereaved families, said: ‘It’s just another reminder of what we are forced to battle against. Six years, no justice and now an even longer road ahead.’
Andy Evans, the QPR Trust’s chief executive officer, joined the prince while he met staff working with the Grenfell community and said afterwards: ‘I’ve said this before, sadly I think Grenfell is west London’s Hillsborough and it will go on.
‘We’re almost at six years, that’s 72 months for the 72 lives that we’ve lost since the disaster and still we’re no nearer to justice or any answers or more importantly solutions for all the other people who were living on the estate.’
Last month, a group of more than 900 bereaved family members, survivors and local residents agreed on a settlement of their civil claims.
Cladding giant Arconic said it was among the firms which was involved in the High Court case and had agreed to the settlement.
It said it had also ‘agreed to contribute to a restorative justice project to benefit the community affected by the fire’.
Those who took part in the legal claim were represented by 14 firms who have stressed the agreement does not impact the public inquiry, which has yet to publish its report, or the potential for any criminal charges to be brought in the future.
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