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Romford relief worker delivers Christmas gifts to Grenfell fire families

PUBLISHED: 14:30 22 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:17 24 December 2017

Charley Ann, 33, with son Ben, 16, who support Grenfell Tower families with the Tabernacle Christian Centre. Photo: Charley Ann

Charley Ann, 33, with son Ben, 16, who support Grenfell Tower families with the Tabernacle Christian Centre. Photo: Charley Ann

Archant

Families affected by the Grenfell Tower fire are receiving gifts from a Romford relief worker this Christmas.

When tragedy struck the Grenfell Tower on June 14, 33-year-old Charley Ann was moved to help the Grenfell families by the memory of losing her own home in a fire 10 years ago.

The Romford resident volunteers with Kensington-based charity the Tabernacle Christian Centre which is holding a Christmas party for the Grenfell families today (December 22).

“Nothing is going to take away what has happened,” she said.

“But we’re holding this event to try and instil a nice memory for the children.”

Charley has dedicated herself to supporting the affected families by distributing aid and holding fundraising events, often sleeping on the centre’s floor in the immediate aftermath of the fire.

Her 16-year-old son Ben, a performing arts student at Redbridge College, regularly volunteers with her also.

“The survivors have been traumatised, especially the children, and I feel very deeply that the Grenfell families need our ongoing support,” she said.

“Me and my son are here for the long term to offer our support.

“I have been overwhelmed and humbled by my experiences.”

The Tabernacle Christian Centre currently provides practical support to around 120 families who have not yet been rehoused.

Charley experienced homelessness after her flat was destroyed in fire 10 years ago.

Left with only a few personal possessions, she spent two years living at a hostel in Northfields.

“The start of healing is to have a permanent home. I remember that myself,” she said.

She said a prayer to mark the six month anniversary of the fire on Thursday, December 14 and contacted some of the families she has been helping to tell them they are in her thoughts.

The Christmas event will have a Santa’s grotto, a choir singing carols and children’s orchestra.

Beyond Christmas, the centre intends to set out a commercial kitchen at the centre to create a comfortable, permanent space where families can sit and talk.

To donate to the centre, email info@tccdonation.co.uk

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