History from across the centuries, Royalty from the 21st

Wed 17th October, 2018
 

DIY Duke: Prince William rolls up sleeves to help Grenfell victims with DIY SOS

Yesterday saw The Duke of Cambridge roll up his sleeves to take part in some DIY refurbishments in Ladbroke Grove. As part of the television programme DIY SOS, Prince William and host Nick Knowles pitched in and assisted the DIY crew with rebuilding the Dale Youth Amateur Boxing Club that was destroyed by the tragic Grenfell Tower fire.

Prince William helps DIY SOS rebuild a boxing centre for victims of grenfell. Photo courtesy of Kensington Palace

Early in the morning on 14th June, 2017, a massive fire erupted inside the Grenfell Tower block of public housing flats, killing 71 people. It is believed that the fire began accidentally, possibly igniting on the fourth floor by a fridge-freezer. Within 30 minutes of flaring up, the blaze was uncontrollable, rapidly accelerated by the buildings new exterior cladding.

The Boxing Club was previously housed on the first floor at Grenfell Tower. It has now been relocated to a carpark in Ladbroke Grove and a new community centre has been added as well. Founded 60 years ago, the Dale Youth Club has expertly trained and produced 200 Amateur Boxing Association champions over the years.

Decked out in a high visibility jacket and a hard hat to complete his look, The Queen’s grandson showed off his inner Picasso, as he took to painting the walls inside the club.

In addition to displaying his painting skills, The Duke of Cambridge was able to spend time visiting with many of the local volunteers, some of whom lost family members in the horrific fire.

Prince William painting for DIY SOS. Photo: Kensington Palace

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The strength and resiliency of the community made quite an impression on William. He said: “Grenfell and Manchester have been competing as to who has the most community spirit, because after the terror attack in Manchester, I’ve never known anything like it, they were amazing, they came together. I saw the same thing in Grenfell.”

The Duke was of course referring to the Manchester bombing of last year; a bomb was detonated as crowds were exiting an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22.

“It makes you very proud that through something so tragic and traumatic, people come together like they do, and try and help each other out,” Prince William said.

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The Duke has long been a supporter of Grenfell victims, possibly because the tower was a stone’s throw away from Kensington Palace. He, Catherine and Prince Harry made a donation to the victims’ plight, and he has met those affected with both The Queen in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, and a little later with Prince Harry to discuss the mental health impact of the fire.

Among the volunteers was a relative of one of the Grenfell victims, 12-year-old Jessica Urbano Ramirez. Her cousin, Jason Garcia Urbano had the chance to meet with William and share his feelings about volunteering. Urbano said: “For me, one year on, people are still thinking about how they can support this community that has been severely damaged by what’s happened. I’m all for it, that’s why I wanted to get involved as soon as I found out. I live just across the road from the tower so I’ve been there from the start until now, and I just want to do whatever I can.”

Luckily for everyone painting, The Duke of Cambridge’s height became a very valuable asset. Prince William informed another helper, Mr. Brown: “If I do the tall spots then you can take over later, so that’s what I am doing.”

This will be William’s second appearance on DIY SOS, so he knew what he was getting into before signing up. Prior to this episode, the Duke, along with his brother Prince Harry, helped the DIY crew to reconstruct homes for veterans in Manchester in 2015.

Written by

Dianne is an ardent Royalist who spends her free time indulging in historical non-fiction, particularly the Tudor period as well as Ancient Rome. She studied English and Sociology at The Northern Arizona University with an emphasis on British Literature. She has been married for 23 years and has 2 daughters.

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