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September 25, 2017

Local news website Get West London creates online memorial to Grenfell Tower disaster victims

By Freddy Mayhew

Regional news website Get West London has set up a microsite to mark 100 days since the Grenfell Tower fire disaster that claimed the lives of up to 80 people.

The site serves as a “dedicated memorial to the tragedy” and includes some of the first interviews with survivors of the blaze, according to a spokesperson for Get West London owner Trinity Mirror.

They said video journalists Lois Swinnerton and Michael Pearson had “compiled months of work” into the microsite “which they hope will ensure that the residents’ voices will continue to be heard”.

Friday marked 100 days since the disaster on the Lancaster West estate, near Notting Hill.

South east video editor Pearson said: “To work on the project is incredibly humbling and I believe it’s a real honour to tell these people’s stories.

“Residents are angry and want answers and we really hope that the work Lois and I have done will do that for them.

“In some cases, we haven’t been able to get all the answers and I think that it’s important that we explain why as our community begins to heal.

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“I think the work that we do in this microsite is giving a voice to those who are too afraid to speak up. We’ve spoken with so many survivors now who just want closure and we hope this does some justice for them.”

The site includes interviews with mayor of London Sadiq Khan, London Fire Brigade commissioner Dany Cotton and the leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council.

Local news media, including Get West London, failed to pick up on concerns over fire safety at Grenfell Tower that had been raised on a hyperlocal blog prior to the lethal blaze.

Repeated title closures and staffing cuts across London newspapers have led to fears of a local news crisis in the capital.

James Watkins, homepages editor for Get West London, said: “It was difficult to believe what was going on when we woke to the news of the Grenfell Tower fire on Wednesday, June 14.

“The images and footage was incomprehensible, the sheer ferocity of the fire was difficult to look at, and there was disbelief that an incident of this scale could happen.

“There remains a lot of unanswered questions and anger within the surrounding Grenfell community and across the world.”

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