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Grenfell Tower fire: Double decker bus takes donations from Barking

PUBLISHED: 10:24 22 June 2017 | UPDATED: 10:24 22 June 2017

Joanne Wilkins, left, who organised the donations, and her sister Kelly Jordan, who works at Go Ahead, on the double decker bus loaded up with donations for Grenfell Tower, on 16th June, 2017.

Joanne Wilkins, left, who organised the donations, and her sister Kelly Jordan, who works at Go Ahead, on the double decker bus loaded up with donations for Grenfell Tower, on 16th June, 2017.

Catherine Davison

Generous donors have ensured a double decker bus worth of goods could be taken from Barking to help families who lost everything in the devastating Grenfell Tower fire.

L to R: Nathan Wilkins, Keith Froment, Patrick Higgins, Allan Gashug, Adam Cole, Charlotte Owen, Joanne Wilkins, Julia Methven, Kelly Jordan, Gary Sims, and Khalid Ahmed, Go Ahead employees and volunteers who helped to load up a double decker bus with donations for Grenfell Tower, on 16th June, 2017.L to R: Nathan Wilkins, Keith Froment, Patrick Higgins, Allan Gashug, Adam Cole, Charlotte Owen, Joanne Wilkins, Julia Methven, Kelly Jordan, Gary Sims, and Khalid Ahmed, Go Ahead employees and volunteers who helped to load up a double decker bus with donations for Grenfell Tower, on 16th June, 2017.

Joanne Wilkins and her sister Kelly Jordan, who works at the Go Ahead depot, organised a bus from the River Road site to transport donations for the hundreds left homeless from the fire.

But the sisters’ plans to take a single decker had to be changed due to the overwhelming response from members of the public – and had to load everything onto a double decker instead.

“We had clothes on the top deck, and on the bottom we had food, prams, just about everything really,” Joanne said.

“It was a fantastic response, it was lovely.”

Once the bus was loaded up with donations, it was driven from the depot to west London.

“It was really quite a sight to get it there,” Joanne said, adding that it attracted attention from people who realised what they were doing.

But she said the biggest challenge was finding somewhere to accept the goods.

She explained that one collection point said that toys had to be new, and others were not taking some items, but that it was all eventually put in a warehouse.

“These are people who have lost everything,” Joanne said. “They’re meant to be trying to help them.”

She added that she was moved to help after hearing the news of the fire.

“This isn’t just one or two people, hundreds have been affected,” she said. “I just think after everything that’s been going on people need to stick together, and this shows people are willing to help each other.”

At least 79 people were killed in the blaze, which broke out in the early hours of Wednesday, June 14 and quickly tore through the 24-storey residential building.

Firefighters still at the scene in north Kensington joined people from across the country in a minute’s silence to remember the victims on Monday morning.

In Barking, scores of people stood in the Town Square, outside the Town Hall, to observe the silence.


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