news

Grenfell Tower fire: Classical concert raises £30,000 for survivors

Around 75 Grenfell residents attended the concert

Dozens of Grenfell Tower survivors attended a benefit concert to raise funds for those affected by the high-rise blaze.

Around 75 people, who saw their neighbours die and their homes destroyed, attended the operatic fundraiser at Cadogan Hall in Chelsea on Sunday (September 17) evening.

Admission fees for the survivors were covered by others attending the concert to help boost the money raised.

Organisers have so far raised almost £30,000 through ticket sales and donations, with the amount expected to rise.

The auditorium applauded as BBC Radio 3 presenter Petroc Trelawny gave a special welcome to the dozens of former residents from at least 23 families present.

Opening the concert, he said: “What I think to all Londoners has become abundantly clear in the three months since the catastrophe is that Grenfell Tower was home to a true and real community, a community that has become even stronger since those events of three months ago.

“That strength that they have found is going to be needed over the course of the months and the years ahead.

“This evening another community, our community of classical musicians ... we want to respond the only way we know how.

“The music we are going to hear - songs from Vienna and London, opera from Italy and Germany - might seem something strange to present in response to such truly terrible events, but we hope that the rich beauty of music can be of some use in such bleak times.

“It’s what we do and we present tonight’s programme with love, compassion and sincerity.”

The concert opened with an emotional rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone, sung by the entire company of singers and accompanied by a full orchestra.

The three-hour concert, attended by 850 people, was organised by singer Nazan Fikret, who organised the concert.

Natalya Romaniw (left) with soprano Nazan Fikret (centre), who organised the concert, and BBC Radio 3 presenter Petroc Trelawny(Image: PA / Robert Workman)

Ms Fikret, whose 30th birthday fell on the same day as the fire, said she was motivated to call on her fellow musicians after finding it impossible to get Grenfell off her mind.

The soprano, who was presented with flowers at the end of the concert, said: “I’ve been exchanging personal emails with survivors.

"For the most part the consensus has been that they are really looking forward to doing something unusual, and a lot of them - especially the older generation - didn’t want to go to things like the football because it wasn’t the right thing for them.

“More than a handful have said ‘We really want to have new beginnings and hope, and the concert can be part of that, we’re doing new enjoyable things and starting to go out as families again and meet our neighbours again, who we haven’t seen’.

Soprano Nazan Fikret (in red), who organised the Grenfell Tower Benefit Concert(Image: PA / Robert Workman)

“One of the chaps who couldn’t be here tonight has given his ticket to his neighbour.

“He rang me up and said ‘I’m so sorry I can’t be there but thank you so much for what you are doing, we’re so grateful as a community.”

All funds raised will be split equally between the Rugby Portobello Trust and Grief Encounter, which are focusing on rehabilitating affected families and helping them look to the future.

Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app.

You can even set it to receive push notifications for all the breaking news in your area.

Available to download from the App Store or Google Play for Android now!

View full mobile page