Notting Hill Carnival 2017: Minute's silence to be held for Grenfell Tower fire victims

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A minute’s silence will be held during this year’s Notting Hill Carnival to honour the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

The world-famous event in west London will fall silent at 3pm on August 28 in memory of at least 80 people who died in the blaze.

Chairman Pepe Francis said it “feels right that we continue” the carnival, which takes place near Grenfell Tower, but said the silence would allow people to “show proper respect for our grieving friends and neighbours”.

He told the BBC: “We don’t pretend we can give solace. But we can, and will, offer respect and solidarity.”

Some two million people are expected to converge on the 51st annual street festival of dancing, music and colourful floats, which has become Europe’s biggest event of its kind.

Last month, one senior minister wrote to Sadiq Khan to ask if it was “appropriate” for revellers to enjoy the annual celebration in the shadow of such a tragedy.

Greg Hands, the MP for Chelsea & Fulham, urged him to consider moving it “given the recent tragic events in the area”.

But the mayor rejected the call, saying the carnival belonged on the streets of its Notting Hill birthplace.

He said the event was “a firm London tradition” and any attempt to move it would be “a mistake” given the public mood after the fire.

“It was born out of the African-Caribbean immigrant community in North Kensington and Notting Hill in the 1950s, and it’s only right that this remains its home,” said the Mayor’s spokesman. 

“Any attempt to impose a move to another location on the carnival, particularly at a time when the community is mistrustful of many those in positions of authority, would be a mistake.”

Notting Hill carnival takes place on August 27-28, across the Bank Holiday weekend.

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