UK News

Queen and Prince William have visit rest centre helping tower fire victims

Queen Elizabeth meets firefighters during a visit to the Westway Sports Centre, London, which is providing temporary shelter for those who have been made homeless by the fire at Grenfell Tower Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA
By Sally Wardle, Press Association

Queen Elizabeth and Prince William have visited at a rest centre helping those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

They met volunteers, residents and community representatives while visiting Westway Sports Centre, near the charred remains of the building in west London.

The queen and Prince William were greeted by the lord lieutenant of Greater London, Ken Olisa, with the shell of the tower block visible in the distance behind them.

The British monarch stopped to speak to local residents who had gathered outside.

The pair met with volunteers who have coordinated the effort at the centre, in front of tables stacked with donated goods.

William commented to one volunteer, who spoke about the fire: "Things like that you never want to see."

He told another volunteer: "That's one of the most terrible things I have ever seen."

A strong campaigner on mental health, William said it was important that those affected talked about the trauma they had witnessed.

Harrowing cries could be heard inside the main hall of the rest centre, where evacuated families and locals have been gathering, as a group of residents consoled one another.

A short distance away, the queen and Prince William met helpers from the Red Cross and its chief executive Mike Adamson.

They signed a book of condolence in front of a wall plastered with missing posters describing those feared lost in the fire.

Outside, crowds applauded members of the London Fire Brigade, Metropolitan Police and London Ambulance Service as they lined up to be thanked for their bravery by the royal visitors.

As the queen and William left, a man holding a poster of two siblings who have been missing since the fire called out to the prince to go over.

William responded that he had to leave but shouted: "I'll come back, I'll come back."

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