Notting Hill Carnival ‘aims to help Grenfell Tower healing’

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CarnivalImage copyright PA
Image caption Hundreds of hand-drawn tributes, flowers and candles have been placed around Grenfell Tower

Notting Hill Carnival will be a “healing” opportunity for the local community after the Grenfell Tower fire, organisers say.

Hundreds of hand-drawn tributes, flowers and candles will be protected by fencing, while a “ring of care” will be formed around the tower by police.

A reflection zone will be placed near the burnt high-rise, where performers will lower the volume of their music.

The public have also been asked not to take selfies at the site.

Huey Walker, a local resident and volunteer who has been involved in the run-up to Carnival, said some of the survivors were “real carnivalists” who wanted to participate.

The 39-year-old, who lives near Kensal Green, said: “I think people see it as an opportunity to continue the healing of what’s happened in the community and keep the message of what’s happened in the public eye as well.”

Is the fun being sucked out of Notting Hill Carnival?

Image caption The public have been asked not to take selfies at the site

The carnival will open on Sunday morning with a multi-faith prayer and release of doves as a “small act of remembrance”, and a speech by local MP Emma Dent Coad.

At 15:00 BST on both days hundreds of thousands of revellers along the route are expected to pause and observe a minute’s silence to mark the tragedy, in which at least 80 people died.

Organisers are encouraging attendees to wear or accessorise in “green for Grenfell” in a display of “reverence and respect amidst the revelry”.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Up to seven thousand officers will be on duty each day at the event

Ms Dent Coad told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We do need our carnival this year more than ever.

“I see it perhaps as a wake. It’s a time in the middle of the grieving to relax and honour the dead and get together and party briefly. I don’t think there’s any problem.

“It is a cultural thing to have a wake, and that’s how I see it.

“Our neighbourhood wouldn’t be the same without Carnival. People plan for it all year. It would be completely inappropriate to move it or not to hold it at all.”

Steel barriers, concrete blocks and a ban on vehicles will be in place at this year’s event to protect revellers from the threat of terrorism.

Scotland Yard said there was no specific intelligence but security plans had been “thoroughly reviewed” after the Barcelona attack.

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