Northfleet cargo company rally round to take donations to Grenfell Tower residents

PUBLISHED: 14:57 16 June 2017

The Grenfell Tower fire has claimed at least 30 lives. Picture: AP Matt Dunham

The Grenfell Tower fire has claimed at least 30 lives. Picture: AP Matt Dunham

Mischa Saag

Fleet-Hire have received hundreds of donations within two days

A Northfleet cargo company dedicated two working days to taking donations to victims of the Grenfell Tower blaze, on June 14.

Marie Ripley, who runs Fleet-Hire, and friends rallied round creating a donation bank for Gravesham residents, and then made numerous trips to the Kensington tower with hopes of offering “as much help as we possibly could.”

Ms Ripley, said: “We literally received hundreds of donations from local people. Children were bringing toys and one woman brought hundreds of blankets that she’d previously knitted herself. We did it because we just thought it would be a nice gesture, and we had so much stuff that on Wednesday night we didn’t get home until after 1am.

“We heard that donations were being turned away on Thursday, but luckily when we were there on Wednesday we met people who lived there, exchanged numbers and were able to ring them to find out exactly what they need and where to meet them the following day.”

Though quiet on the journey there, Ms Ripley claims there are still hundreds of people gathering nearby the tower.

She said: “There were firemen, police, ambulance services, as well as neighbours and residents all gathered.

“The atmosphere there is really strange. As you get nearer to the site you can feel a sense of change in the air, and everything smells toxic.

“Speaking with people you can hear the affect it’s had on them. One young woman hasn’t left the scene since the fire started, and another was telling us her friend’s seven-month-old died and her two other children are in intensive care as a result of the fire.”

At the moment 30 people have officially been announced as dead, with the number expected to rise.

“Some of the people there were telling us that they couldn’t have been luckier to be celebrating Ramadan,” added Ms Ripley. “They were praying outside the residence at the time, and if they hadn’t of been, they too could have died. They’ve been really lucky.

“All I can say is that I’m a mother and grandmother, and I come from a big family, and I honestly can’t imagine what those families with people dead or missing are going through.”

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