Jules Ng and Lee Stewart in their new home in Queen’s Park, London
A year after the Grenfell Tower inferno, many survivors are looking back at the London inferno that killed 72 people.
The official tribute will take place at midday today (14 June), with many holding a minute’s silence.
The burned out shell of Grenfell Tower, as well as other London buildings, were lit green at 00:54.
This was the time a fire was reported in a flat last June.
Kensington and Chelsea Council said 52 households remained in temporary accommodation and 83 are in permanent homes.
Another 68 are in ’emergency’ accommodation – 42 in hotels, 22 in serviced apartments, and four staying with family or friends.
How gay couple survived Grenfell Tower inferno by a twist of fate
Among the survivors were a same-sex couple, Jules Ng, 31, and Lee Stewart, 30. They lived on the 21st floor, three down from the top of the tower.
Speaking to Gay Star News, Jules said: ‘I was away because I was at work in Crawley, staying in a hotel, doing a four-day activity. And on Tuesday night, my boyfriend came to the hotel because it was his birthday yesterday – the day of the fire.
‘Thank God he did.
‘We got here at Tuesday night. And at 3am on the night of the fire, we got a missed call from the landlord.
‘The vibrations woke us up, and my boyfriend called back to ask what was going on. That’s how we found out what happened.
‘I went to check online, and we saw the videos and articles. We saw our building burning down. It was horrific.’
The management consultant and IT developer couldn’t believe the image at first.
‘I just thought, “Oh my god. Is it happening? Am I seeing this right? We’re here, but think of the people inside! It’s the middle of the night, people are trapped? Our possessions, our home – seeing it burning down was horrifying.’
The couple lost all their possessions.
‘For me, it’s all the stuff on my laptop. I haven’t backed anything up, photos and files and documents. Both of us – I’ve got gifts from my 18th and 21st birthday that are probably lost. They were watches from my family, really beautiful watches. I barely wore them because I loved them. My boyfriend lost his LP records. He’s a big Michael Jackson fan, and he’s got lots of memorabilia. We’ve both lost personal laptops, and all of our clothes.’
Surviving one year on
Shortly afterwards, the two volunteered at the nearby center to help sort and pack donations to be delivered to those less fortunate than them.
Thanks to a JustGiving page, they managed to raise £8,567 to replace what they lost.
But the couple still moved five times in the space of five months, before finally settling in a place in Queen’s Park, London.
The two have traveled the world since the day they lost their possessions, including Portugal, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and Spain.
This is how you can help the fire victims
The Kensington and Chelsea Foundation is continuing to raise funds, and you can also donate clothing, bedding, toiletries to help points around the local area.