'Notting Hill Carnival is in context of sorrow': Sadiq Khan urges revellers to keep Grenfell victims in their thoughts

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Sadiq Khan has urged crowds at Notting Hill Carnival to keep their thoughts and prayers with Grenfell Tower victims as revellers head to the annual two-day street party.

The Mayor of London spoke at the opening of the west London festival, after community leaders read prayers and released doves in tribute to the people killed in the tower block fire.

Speaking in blazing sunshine, Mr Khan said this year’s event “takes place in the context of sadness and sorrow” and added: “So this carnival weekend, we honour the victims.”

It comes after a morning of remembrance for those who died in the tragedy, when fire ripped through the 24-storey high-rise building on June 14.

Moving moment: Sadiq Khan joins faith leaders as doves are released at the opening of Notting Hill Carnival (PA)

Crowds were moved to silence by a powerful rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Water and multi-faith prayers were read at Sunday’s short morning service. 

Mr Khan told those who had gathered in remembrance: “Over this carnival weekend we pledge to redouble our efforts to support this community. 

“We make sure we have in our thoughts and our prayers all of those affected by the awful Grenfell Tower tragedy.

“Part of that pledge is making sure we get justice, we find out exactly what happened, we make sure those responsible are held to account, and also so this never, ever, ever happens again.”

The city’s mayor was also pictured embracing relatives of people who died in the fire. He greeted survivors sitting in a specially-reserved area, shaking their hands and hearing about their housing situations, 10 weeks on.

Condolences: Sadiq Khan meets relatives of people that died in Grenfell Tower at Notting Hill Carnival (REUTERS)

The mayor spoke for a few minutes with Hamid Ali Jafari, 33, who said he was from the 11th floor of Grenfell Tower and is in a temporary flat, awaiting permanent accommodation.

Many revellers are today heading to the carnival dressed in green for Grenfell, as temperatures are expected to hit 25C or 26C in the capital.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks to families of victims of the Grenfell Tower. (PA)

Organisers and community leaders hope the 2017 event will provide a “healing opportunity” for survivors of the blaze, with a minute’s silence to be held at 3pm on both days in tribute.

Performers passing the burnt-out tower have been encouraged to lower their music volume and walk respectfully instead of dancing while hundreds of hand-drawn tributes, flowers and candles laid in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire will be protected by fencing. 

A “ring of care” will be formed around the tower by police officers to protect the Lancaster West estate from the hundreds of thousands of passing carnival-goers.

Security at the carnival is also on high alert this year after a wave of terror attacks across the UK and Europe, including the Barcelona attack earlier this month.

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