A TV documentary on the Grenfell fire has inspired a Burnham-On-Sea woman to complete a sponsored walk to raise money for those affected by the tragedy.
Ruby Slack was so moved by the Channel 4 programme that she contacted Grenfell United vice chair Karim Mussilhy, who lost his uncle in the blaze, to find out how she could help.
Ruby, an Enforcement Officer with the South West housing association LiveWest, got 11 of her colleagues to help with the 121 mile walk from College Green, Bristol, to Grenfell Tower.
The relay walk, which took a year to plan, saw each of the 12 participants cover at least 15 miles a day to ensure the daily target of 45 miles was achieved.
The walk raised a total of £6840.34 after LiveWest matched the amount received from sponsors.
Ruby told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “Grenfell Foundation has changed my perspective massively. It was a tough physical challenge and far harder than we expected.”
“It was mentally tough every day, especially the last. It drained us physically and emotionally and in it we bonded as a unit.”
“Knowing that you can do anything you set your mind to when you believe in it enough is a massive take away from this.”
“It took all of the group and their contacts and skills to get this off the ground and it took the support of LiveWest to allow us to go in a busy period and use our volunteering days. It was hell of an experience and one we will forever be grateful for.”
“The documentary put together by the residents made me think ‘there must be more we can do to help these people’. I felt we owed it to those people who have suffered so greatly.”
The group was greeted to a hero’s welcome from members of the Grenfell Foundation and Grenfell Speaks when they arrived at the tower. They also got to meet Karim, who shared his story.
The Grenfell Foundation was set up at the request of some survivors and bereaved families of the Grenfell Tower fire and provides independent support to the former residents of the tower, their families, dependents and the local community.
Ruby added: “As we arrived at the tower, we turned the corner and there were teddy bears tied to the railings with names next to them of the children who had died in the fire.”
“A lot of us started to cry as it was really distressing to see. We supported each other to carry on walking and were just concentrating on fighting back the tears when we heard all the clapping.”
“We walked through the event barriers and each and every one of the people in hi-vis jackets hugged all of us.”
“They just kept saying ‘from our hearts to yours, we are so grateful you have done this for us’.”
Each member of the group was awarded with a Grenfell pin, which contain 72 gold stars representing the number of people who died in the tragedy. The pins are inscribed with the words ‘forever in our hearts’.
Ruby added: “We all said it was like a medal, the best medal you could ever receive.”
Ruby hopes to carry on supporting the Foundation and plans to hand over a cheque this month.