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Grenfell Fire: Grief remains raw at St Paul's memorial

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Media captionGrenfell memorial: Key moments

Six months on from the Grenfell Tower fire, the grief and anger of those affected is still visibly raw.

Underneath the sadness there was dismay that many of the survivors attending the national memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral are still homeless.

And while those who died in the fire were remembered, there was also comment on what has taken place since - and what more importantly still needs to be done.

On a cold and crisp December morning, there was a noticeable silence around St Paul's as people stopped to reflect.

The poignant lull continued as survivors, friends and families of those affected by the fire quietly began to make their way into the cathedral.

This silence was only broken when the majestic bells of St Paul's tolled across the City of London at 10:30.

At the same time a spontaneous ripple of applause broke out from the crowd as firefighters made their way up the cathedral steps.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Many held white roses along with photographs of loved ones

It was a sign of the gratitude for the efforts of the emergency services on the night of 14 June.

The bells continued to chime for 30 minutes, a mark of respect to the 71 who died in Grenfell Tower.

And it is clear why the survivors chose St Paul's, a cathedral where so many services of national significance have taken place over the years.

One mourner, Damel Carayol, 55, who lost his 44-year-old cousin Mary Mandy in the fire, said the service was needed and the venue fitting.

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Image caption The service was held at St Paul's Cathedral, in central London

"It recognises the tragedy on a national level," he said.

"It's a step, but the biggest step will be accountability."

And while the service was being held it became apparent that the anger and uncertainty on display in the aftermath of the fire remained.

There are currently dozens of households still stuck in hotels.

'Big distraction'

Outside St Paul's, Prof Chris Imafidon said he knows of 20 people who lost everything in the fire.

"It is a very sad day," he said. "But the families want a service from the council, not a church service.

"This is just a big distraction from the fact that six months on many families are still homeless and will be spending Christmas in a hotel," he said.

There was another moment of reflection after the service finished.

Hundreds of relatives and survivors gathered on the steps of St Paul's, displaying single white roses and photographs of those who perished.

Some survivors then went straight back to their hotels.

But there was then a range of emotions on display as others moved on to St Paul's churchyard.

Visibly upset, they hugged and consoled each other, while some continued to vent their anger and speak of feeling neglected.

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