WORSHIPPERS from a Dollis Hill church have held a special memorial service to remember those killed in Saturday's (April 10) plane crash in which many of Poland's key figures lost their lives.
The congregation at St Francis of Assisi Church, in Fleetwood Road, Dollis Hill, performed the moving vigil which was conducted by four priests.
More than 300 mourners came together in prayer and lit candles for the victims which included Poland's president Lech Kaczynski and his wife.
Among the dead was Ryszard Kaczorowski, the country's president in exile during the Communist years and member of the St Francis congregation who lived in west London.
Father Leszek Golebiewski said: “I would like to express my deepest sympathies. The congregation and myself knew many of the victims personally. The former president Ryszard Kaczorowski and his wife lived in our parish area. His wife was due to travel with him to the memorial but was unable to attend due to ill health.
“Sadly, one of our neighbouring parish priests, Father Gostomski, who was based at St Andrew's Bobola, in Shepherd’s Bush, died in the incident.
“We have a selection of photographs of him, President Lech Kaczynski and the former President Ryszard Kaczorowski, which will all remain on display for vigils.”
The church has been holding prayer services this week for people in the community to attend.
This week Councillor Paul Lorber, Brent’s Liberal Democrat leader, expressed his condolences to the Polish community in the borough.
He said: “As someone who originally came from Czechoslovakia in 1968 I am familiar with Polish history and the struggle for independence and democracy. Poland is now a strong and independent nation playing a full part in the life of Europe.
“This tragic national loss is a big blow and on behalf of everyone in Brent I would like to express my sympathy to the Polish people.”
President Lech Kaczynski and his wife were with many of the country's cabinet members on the flight to Russia which crashed in a military airfield in Smolensk, Russia, killing 96 people.
They were due to attend a memorial service to remember the 22,000 Polish people who were killed during the Katyn massacre in the Second World War.