CHERYL GIBBS: Such compassion is what makes this country great

Another week, another tragedy hits our country.

Friday, 16th June 2017, 7:09 am
Volunteers sort through donations near Grenfell Tower

What can be said? Yet another senseless loss of life, but this time it wasn’t terrorism – and it seems it could very well have been prevented.

When I first heard reports that a tower block in West London had caught fire on Wednesday, I had the usual sense of dread when you hear such sad news.

I prayed silently to myself that people would be okay.,

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But I didn’t for one second expect the horrifying images as Grenfell Tower continued to burn for hours on end.

As I write this column, the death toll has risen to 17. But this figure is expected to increase.

It’s truly horrifying. When I turned on the TV news, they were saying that the number of people missing and potentially still in the flats could make that number significantly higher.

What can you say?

The jury is still very much out on what caused the fire, although there have been reports that it began with a faulty fridge-freezer in one of the flats.

But what is more disturbing is how residents have been saying for years in blog posts that the block was a safety risk and it was only a matter of time before the place caught fire.

The facts of the matter are not for me to decide. I’m sure the official investigation will continue in the weeks and months to come.

But how unbelievably sad that this country has suffered another tragedy so soon after the terrorist attacks on Manchester and London.

What gave me hope was seeing the community rally round once more.

We saw it in Manchester at the One Love concert and it was evident again when people arrived with bags full of clothes, water, food and other essential items for those who had lost everything in the Grenfell Tower fire.

These complete strangers just wanted to help. I felt my heart lift just a little when I saw pictures of them. That kind of compassion and generosity is what makes this country great.

If you’d like to help, please donate via a number of JustGiving pages which have been set up.


I’m off to Marrakesh this Sunday for a five-day jolly in the sun with my mum and sister and a close family friend.

I can’t wait – it’s been a year since I last went away and I’m really looking forward to relaxing by the pool and eating and drinking way too much.

I’ve been to Morocco before, on my hen do two years ago, but we went to Agadir which is a beach resort further south.

This time we’re heading to the hub and I intend to make the most of the four nights we have by cramming in as much sightseeing as I can (I hear the markets are amazing).

I’ve just finished working for the BBC in Southampton and start a new job at a media company in Gosport in a week, so this time in the sun will be just what I need.


You know a celebrity is genuinely doing something out of the goodness of their heart when you don’t hear about it through the mainstream press, but from fans posting on social media.

When the paparazzi aren’t there and journalists aren’t waiting to get their interviews, you know that this is a genuine act of kindness.

Singer Adele turned up to talk to survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Apparently she spent time just hugging and comforting the many people who had lost everything.

She wanted to remain low key and under the radar and good for her and other celebrities such as Rita Ora and Jamie Oliver who offered their support too.

This wasn’t about publicity.