Two Communities, 300 Miles Apart, Celebrate Their Solidarity
The 200 year old granite street in Mousehole, is thought to be named after the old Cornish Grenfell family, one of whose descendants gave his name to Grenfell Tower.
However, until now, the street has borne no street sign. The street naming was organised by the charity Cornwall Hugs Grenfell and Cornwall Council.
It marks the solidarity which has blossomed between Cornwall and Kensington since the tragedy, with over 480 respite holidays being provided by the Cornish people through the charity to survivors, the bereaved, the displaced and firefighters.
The street sign, designed by Cormac, in antique style, shows ‘Grenfell Street’ in black lettering on a white background, followed by a simple green heart. This is the iconic symbol of solidarity used by Grenfell United and now depicted at the top of the tower itself, against its white wrapping.
The sign was unveiled by Grenfell Tower survivor and bereaved children Hafsa Khalloud (15), Sara Chebiouni (11) Kai (11), his sister Maia Mussilhy and Abem (7) teamed with Patch Harvey, coxswain of the Penlee lifeboat.
Patch was chosen by Cornwall Hugs Grenfell to represent Cornish hospitality, Penlee lifeboat station, RNLI, being a key partner of the charity, which has repeatedly welcomed guests aboard the Ivan Ellen during their respite holidays.
“I believe this is truly a sign of our times! We hear so much about division in society but this solid ‘granite’ solidarity, that has grown between our two communities and is captured in this sign gives great hope. It expresses how ordinary people feel – they just want to support each other, however great the distance or apparent differences,” said Esmé Page, founder, Cornwall Hugs Grenfell.
“Thousands of Cornish people, children and adults, business owners, accommodation and transport providers have come together to offer over 480 respite holidays and both Cornish and Grenfell communities have been richly blessed by the bonds that have formed”
As the 32 Grenfell Tower survivors and bereaved and their families joined with the local Cornish community in the narrow granite street to unveil the sign, Mousehole Male Voice Choir opened the short ceremony with a moving rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.
Esme continued “The project has been characterised by extraordinary coincidence and this old Grenfell connection between Cornwall and Kensington is just such another curious surprise. Mousehole has hosted more than 75 of the 480+ Grenfell guests, so giving this old street a beautiful new sign is the perfect way to mark our solidarity in a lasting way.”
‘The Cornwall community has been with us from the days immediately after the fire, offering respite and friendship hundreds of miles away, which has been a crucial factor in the healing of all those who have visited,’ says Karim Mussilhy, Vice Chair, Grenfell United and one of 32 guests who joined the group holiday this August.
‘This sign provides a permanent marker of the partnership between two diverse communities, to be recognised by generations to come. As our fight for safer housing continues, it’s encouraging to feel the solidarity so strong, even 300 miles away.’
The Lord Lieutenant, Colonel Bolitho addressed the large crowd, reminding everyone of Cornwall’s long tradition of welcoming strangers in times of trouble. He said, “I was very moved by the Cornwall Hugs Grenfell event in Mousehole. It was a true pleasure to meet some of the Grenfell Tower survivors and hear how the Cornish spirit of community and welcome had helped them through their grief. I do congratulate Esmé Page and all involved in her organisation for the brilliant, uplifting and selfless way they have responded to the tragedy two years ago.”
Following the unveiling, the Rt Rvd Bishop Philip of Truro spoke a blessing over the street. ‘This sign will stand for friendship, it will stand for partnership, it will stand for justice, it will stand for the Cornish spirit of One and All and the Grenfell spirit of being united. May those who walk along this street see it and smile and find for themselves, inspiration to partner with others, to grow together and be family together.’
The prominent Grenfell family include Pascoe Grenfell MP (1761-1838), born in Marazion just around the bay from Mousehole. It was after his grandson Field Marshall Francis Wallace Grenfell (1841-1925), Grenfell St in W11 and Grenfell Tower were named.
32 Grenfell survivors and bereaved and their families took a respite holiday this week in Mousehole arranged by Cornwall Hugs Grenfell. Activities donated by local businesses and organisations included a visit on the Penlee Lifeboat, a day trip to the Isles of Scilly, a sculpture workshop with Wild Art Cornwall CIC and paddle-boarding with Ocean High. In a celebration meal, Kernow & Kensington Together, local supporters and Grenfell guests joined to celebrate and give thanks for the mutual blessing of the friendship that has blossomed between the two communities. Food was provided by Canteen Cornwall and the venue by Mousehole School.
Cornwall Hugs Grenfell is part of Cornwall Hugs (#1177796) and was started by Esmé Page on June 20th 2017 with a Facebook post, ‘Imagine if we could put a Cornish holiday on the horizon of every Grenfell resident and firefighter family: a time to rest, a time to let our beautiful county bless these people and work its gentle magic.’
Since then over 480 guests have come to Cornwall for respite through the project, including survivors, the bereaved, displaced neighbours and firefighters. The charity received 300+ pledges of holiday accommodation and is supported by over 250 businesses as well as by individuals, choirs and churches throughout Cornwall and beyond. www.cornwallhugsgrenfell.org
Grenfell United is the group of survivors and bereaved families from the Grenfell Tower fire. They have come together to campaign for justice and change, and to make sure everyone is safe in their homes. www.grenfellunited.org
Article taken from Cornish Stuff.