The community supporting Grenfell Tower, the west London building ravaged by fire last year, began 24 hours of poignant commemorations for the tragedy that killed 72 people.

Families and friends who lost loved ones in the Grenfell Tower fire hold portraits of victims as they march in west London at 2300 GMT (midnight local time) on June 14, 2018 to honour the 72 people who died in a fire.
Families and friends who lost loved ones in the Grenfell Tower fire hold portraits of victims as they march in west London at 2300 GMT (midnight local time) on June 14, 2018 to honour the 72 people who died in a fire. ( AFP )

A round-the-clock vigil at a London church where people sought refuge on the night of the Grenfell Tower fire, which killed 72 people, will mark the first anniversary of a tragedy that will haunt Britain for years to come.

Grenfell Tower, a social housing block that was home to a close-knit, ethnically diverse community, was engulfed by flames in the middle of the night of June 14, 2017, in Britain's deadliest domestic fire since World War Two.

The disaster, which unfolded within one of London's richest boroughs, prompted a national outpouring of anguish over social inequality, poor quality social housing and neglect of immigrant communities.

TRT World's Sarah Morice reports.

At St Clement's, a church where people fleeing the burning building gathered that night and local residents came to offer their support, an all-night, silent vigil began at 1700 GMT (6pm local time) on Wednesday.

The silence was broken only when the names of all the victims were read aloud at 1230GMT (1:30am local time)  – the time when the deadly blaze engulfed the tower a year earlier – and when prayers were said on the hour through the night.

In the run-up to the anniversary, the top floors of the charred ruins of the building were covered with white sheeting displaying large green hearts – the symbol of the tragedy – and the words "Grenfell Forever In Our Hearts."

New hoarding covers the top of Grenfell Tower to mark the first anniversary of the fire that killed 72 people at the social housing tower block in west London. June 8, 2018.
New hoarding covers the top of Grenfell Tower to mark the first anniversary of the fire that killed 72 people at the social housing tower block in west London. June 8, 2018. ( Reuters )

Buildings across Britain, including Prime Minister Theresa May's official residence Number 10 Downing Street, were lit up in green overnight in honour of the victims.

A  minute's silence was due to take place at 1100 GMT (12pm local time) on Thursday nationwide, with survivors and bereaved people expected to gather close to the charred tower.

Commemorations will also include a silent march on Thursday evening, and several religious services at churches and mosques.

A public inquiry into the causes of the fire is pausing during the anniversary week, out of respect for the victims and survivors.

The blaze is also the subject of a police inquiry which could result in criminal charges related to negligence and breaches of health and safety regulations.

Flames rip through Grenfell Tower, London, UK, June 14, 2017.
Flames rip through Grenfell Tower, London, UK, June 14, 2017. ( AP )
Source: Reuters