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UK News 'I should be a lady of leisure… I'm a lady of agony': Pensioner, 70, who survived Grenfell Tower tells of her trouble rebuilding her shattered life

12:21  13 june  2018
12:21  13 june  2018 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

Grenfell Tower inquiry to hear evidence on why deadly fire spread

  Grenfell Tower inquiry to hear evidence on why deadly fire spread Seventy-one people were killed during the tragedy in Kensington, west London, on June 14 last year. The fact-finding stage of the inquiry will begin with an all-day address by lead counsel Richard Millett QC, following seven days of emotional family tributes to the dead.Related: Grenfell inquiry: Tributes to Grenfell victims finish emotional seven days ( Press Association) Your browser does not support this video require(["binding"], function (binding) { binding("wcVideoPlayer", "#video_player_ebac8d03-c898-4797-94d7-591805f0b4d5").

A grandmother who escaped Grenfell Tower has spoken of the " agony " of rebuilding her life as she struggles to come to terms with the blaze. Rukayetu Mamudu, who recently turned 70 , and her grandson Tyrshondre, then 12

Rukayetu Mamudu, 70 , spent her recent birthday praying for those who lost their lives in the June 14 fire. A grandmother who escaped Grenfell Tower has spoken of the “ agony ” of rebuilding her life as she struggles to come to terms with the blaze.

Rukayetu Mamudu, 70, and her grandson Tyrshondre, then 12, were some of the first survivors to escape the Grenfell fire in the early hours of June 14 © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Rukayetu Mamudu, 70, and her grandson Tyrshondre, then 12, were some of the first survivors to escape the Grenfell fire in the early hours of June 14 A grandmother who escaped Grenfell Tower says rebuilding her life was 'agony' after the blaze destroyed her home.

Rukayetu Mamudu, 70, and her grandson Tyrshondre, then 12, were some of the first survivors to escape the fire in the early hours of June 14.

She spent her birthday two weeks ago praying for the 72 people who died and thanking God for sparing her and her grandson.

a view of a city with smoke coming out of it: Mrs Mamudu described being woken by God before carrying her grandson through the 'gushing' smoke, wearing just her pyjamas and slippers © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Mrs Mamudu described being woken by God before carrying her grandson through the 'gushing' smoke, wearing just her pyjamas and slippers

But she said she should not have to be starting from scratch after spending more than six months in a hotel.

First pictures inside gutted flat where Grenfell inferno began as five official reports are released with fire experts saying fridge-freezer might NOT have been to blame for starting blaze

  First pictures inside gutted flat where Grenfell inferno began as five official reports are released with fire experts saying fridge-freezer might NOT have been to blame for starting blaze Seventy-one people were killed when the fire tore through the housing block in Kensington, west London, on June 14 last year.  One of a series of expert reports into the disaster today showed images of flat 16, where the fire started around a fridge freezer.Video: 'Modern-day Moses' sheltered six in top-floor flat in Grenfell Tower (Provided by Press Association) Your browser does not support this video require(["binding"], function (binding) { binding("wcVideoPlayer", "#video_player_53b18b12-d86c-4878-976a-885284e725ae").

A grandmother who escaped Grenfell Tower has spoken of the “ agony ” of rebuilding her life as she struggles to come to terms with the blaze. Rukayetu Mamudu, who recently turned 70 , and her grandson Tyrshondre, then 12

A grandmother who escaped Grenfell Tower has spoken of the “ agony ” of rebuilding her life as she struggles to come to terms with the blaze. Rukayetu Mamudu, who recently turned 70 , and her grandson Tyrshondre, then 12

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'I feel I shouldn't be rebuilding my life at 70,' she said.

'I should be a lady of leisure now, not a lady of agony, waking up not knowing whether my grandchild will get what he needs. It's hard.'

Video - Grenfell Tower fire: One year on (PA)

Ms Mamudu told her story as dozens of children who survived to blaze, and their families, gathered at 10 Downing Street for a private reception.

Police arrest nine 'Grenfell fraudsters' suspected of falsely claiming up to £100,000 each in series of dawn raids

  Police arrest nine 'Grenfell fraudsters' suspected of falsely claiming up to £100,000 each in series of dawn raids Detectives investigating allegations fraudsters exploited the disaster to claim tens of thousands of pounds meant for real victims carried out raids around the capital this morning.Police have arrested nine suspected fraudsters said to have claimed they were Grenfell survivors so they could falsely claim cash.

A grandmother who escaped Grenfell Tower has spoken of the “ agony ” of rebuilding her life as she struggles to come to terms with the blaze. Rukayetu Mamudu, who recently turned 70 , and her grandson Tyrshondre, then 12

A grandmother who escaped Grenfell Tower has spoken of the “ agony ” of rebuilding her life as she struggles to come to terms with the blaze. Rukayetu Mamudu, who recently turned 70 , and her grandson Tyrshondre, then 12

Prime Minister Theresa May planted a shrub and some bulbs with the 40 or 50 children in Number 10's garden on Tuesday evening. 

Fatima Elguenuni, who attended the reception with her son Bellal and grandchildren, managed to escape the 18th floor of the tower block along with her son, his pregnant wife Rabia and their three young children. 

a couple of people that are standing in front of a building: Judith Zacharias (centre) with her children Soliana and Alexander, who were some of the 40 or 50 children who planted shrub and some bulbs Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Judith Zacharias (centre) with her children Soliana and Alexander, who were some of the 40 or 50 children who planted shrub and some bulbs Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday

'It was very informal – it was just children playing. They had some games for them, some entertainers where they made flowers and crowns and did some arts and crafts,' she said. 

The children who were invited included survivors and the bereaved as well as children from local schools who had lost friends in the fire.

Grenfell firefighters were ‘betrayed’ over stay-put policy, survivor claims

  Grenfell firefighters were ‘betrayed’ over stay-put policy, survivor claims Rukayetu Mamudu said she questions whether the fire really happened when she wakes in the middle of the night.Rukayetu Mamudu, who recently turned 70, and her grandson Tyrshondre, then 12, were some of the first survivors to escape the fire in the early hours of June 14.

A grandmother who escaped Grenfell Tower has spoken of the “ agony ” of rebuilding her life as she struggles to come to terms with the blaze. Rukayetu Mamudu, who recently turned 70 , and her grandson Tyrshondre, then 12

A grandmother who escaped Grenfell Tower has spoken of the “ agony ” of rebuilding her life as she struggles to come to terms with the blaze. Rukayetu Mamudu, who recently turned 70 , and her grandson Tyrshondre, then 12

Youngsters wearing green ribbons over their school uniform and green glitter on their faces posed for photos outside the front of number 10. 

a group of people standing in front of a building: Dozens of children who survived to blaze gathered at 10 Downing Street for a private reception. Pictured are Ferhat Achiou with his brother Nedir, sister Samira and Amin Rhammaz © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Dozens of children who survived to blaze gathered at 10 Downing Street for a private reception. Pictured are Ferhat Achiou with his brother Nedir, sister Samira and Amin Rhammaz

Diabetic Ms Mamudu and Tyrshondre, now a teenager, spent more than six 'difficult' months in a hotel, the majority of which in the same room.

She had to sleep on the floor for five weeks before an orthopaedic mattress was donated, while volunteers brought a piano for Tyrshondre and took him to play football to help him stave off boredom.

The pair are now living in a flat in Chelsea, which they hope to make permanent. 

a person standing in front of a building: The children who were invited included survivors and the bereaved as well as children from local schools who had lost friends in the fire © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The children who were invited included survivors and the bereaved as well as children from local schools who had lost friends in the fire

'There was not much we could do, because the authorities, they were confused because of the shock, I think they didn't expect such a great breakdown of the system,' Ms Mamudu said.

Gutted by Grenfell fire, boxing gym comes off the ropes

  Gutted by Grenfell fire, boxing gym comes off the ropes Forced to move out of Grenfell Tower after a devastating fire a year ago on Thursday, the famous Dale Youth boxing club has become an unlikely sanctuary for those affected. The club, which has produced two world champions in George Groves and James DeGale, is operating temporarily out of a multi-storey car park in west London near the site of the blaze. © Getty A young boxer trains at the Box Clever Sports club in Ladbroke Grove, west London on June 8, 2018.

A grandmother who escaped Grenfell Tower has spoken of the “ agony ” of rebuilding her life as she struggles to come to terms with the blaze. Rukayetu Mamudu, who recently turned 70 , and her grandson Tyrshondre, then 12

A grandmother who escaped Grenfell Tower has spoken of the “ agony ” of rebuilding her life as she struggles to come to terms with the blaze. Rukayetu Mamudu, who recently turned 70 , and her grandson Tyrshondre, then 12

'The fire wasn't small. Nobody was ready for it - it was a wake-up call.'  

Ms Mamudu said firefighters at the blaze were 'betrayed' by their superiors, urging brigades to abandon 'stay-put' advice until buildings are made safe.

a person standing in front of a building: Youngsters wearing green ribbons over their school uniform and green glitter on their faces posed for photos outside the front of number 10 © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Youngsters wearing green ribbons over their school uniform and green glitter on their faces posed for photos outside the front of number 10

She said firefighters passed their betrayal on to the 71 people that died that night but they should not feel guilty as they were 'let down by the system'.

Ms Mamudu warned closure would not be an option for survivors and the bereaved until those responsible apologised.

'You cannot now advise people 'go back and stay in your flat' because you don't know what the building is made of,' she said.

a person standing on a sidewalk: Ms Mamudu said firefighters at the blaze were 'betrayed' by their superiors, urging brigades to abandon 'stay-put' advice until buildings are made safe © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Ms Mamudu said firefighters at the blaze were 'betrayed' by their superiors, urging brigades to abandon 'stay-put' advice until buildings are made safe

'That is exactly what happened in this scenario. People were trusting the firefighters' words. And the firefighters relied on the system.

'The system should never have deceived them. The system let them down. They are coming out to do their daily jobs without knowing they had been betrayed. And it's a betrayal they passed to their victims.

The horror of filming the Grenfell Tower fire

  The horror of filming the Grenfell Tower fire As a cameraman on a night shift, being asked to go to a fire at a house or a block of flats is not unusual.  It usually involves driving to a location and finding a couple of fire engines packing away their hoses. You end up asking bystanders where to find the now extinguished fire. A dirty looking scorch mark may be all you can locate.On June 14 2017, I got such a call. I drove to north Kensington still thinking that the editor was maybe exaggerating in his description of a "large fire".

A grandmother who escaped Grenfell Tower has spoken of the “ agony ” of rebuilding her life as she struggles to come to terms with the blaze. Rukayetu Mamudu, who recently turned 70 , and her grandson Tyrshondre, then 12

A grandmother who escaped Grenfell Tower has spoken of the “ agony ” of rebuilding her life as she struggles to come to terms with the blaze. Rukayetu Mamudu, who recently turned 70 , and her grandson Tyrshondre, then 12

'Go back to your flat, lock your door, put blankets under your window, you will be safer there than here'. They were roasted alive.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: She said firefighters passed their betrayal on to the 71 people that died that night but they should not feel guilty as they were 'let down by the system' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited She said firefighters passed their betrayal on to the 71 people that died that night but they should not feel guilty as they were 'let down by the system'

'I will tell them if there's anybody running from fire, because they are not sure what the building is made of, because of all the pack of lies, just let them go out.

'Until they are sure that all the buildings are well secured, there are fire sprinklers, etcetera, then they can give that advice.'

Mrs Mamudu described being woken by God before carrying her grandson through the 'gushing' smoke, wearing just her pyjamas and slippers. She then watched the tower burn for six hours, while Tyrshondre slept in her lap.

a sign on the side of a building: London Fire Brigade of banners on the outside of Grenfell Tower as it is being repaired, ahead of Thursday's one-year anniversary © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited London Fire Brigade of banners on the outside of Grenfell Tower as it is being repaired, ahead of Thursday's one-year anniversary

'Seventy-two people,' she said. A long sigh followed.

'The question I keep asking is: who certified that building habitable? How did they get to a conclusion that people could live in a house without sprinklers, no fire alarm, no fire escape?

'Even now, in the middle of the night I wake up and say 'gosh, did that place really burn?'. This is the 21st Century, this is Great Britain. Why?

'Nobody still is able to answer that 'why'. They're pushing blame, pointing fingers, because they all knew what they did was wrong.

Ministers finally say they will ban combustible cladding on high-rise buildings after the Grenfell Tower fire but give no deadline for its use

  Ministers finally say they will ban combustible cladding on high-rise buildings after the Grenfell Tower fire but give no deadline for its use In a statement today, housing minister James Brokenshire promised to make it illegal to cover the outside of high-rises with flammable materials like the ones used on the west London block. But he failed to set a deadline, suggesting the decision would only be made after a consultation. 'I have listened carefully to concerns and I intend to ban the use of combustible materials on the external walls of high-rise residential buildings, subject to consultation,' he said.Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey London social housing block, was engulfed in flames after fire broke out in the middle of the night in June last year.

A grandmother who escaped Grenfell Tower has spoken of the “ agony ” of rebuilding her life as she struggles to come to terms with the blaze. Rukayetu Mamudu, who recently turned 70 , and her grandson Tyrshondre, then 12

A grandmother who escaped Grenfell Tower has spoken of the “ agony ” of rebuilding her life as she struggles to come to terms with the blaze. Rukayetu Mamudu, who recently turned 70 , and her grandson Tyrshondre, then 12

'Nobody wants to account for anything. Justice has to be done. Somebody has to take responsibility. Until somebody comes out to say exactly what they have done and apologise there can never be closure.'

The mother-of-five moved into the first floor of Grenfell Tower with Tyrshondre just eight months before the fire. New to the tower, Ms Mamudu recalled being welcomed by Zainab Deen, who recognised her as someone who had helped her out as a teenager.

She would bring her two-year-old son Jeremiah, for Ms Mamudu to look after. She thought her shopping had been stolen on another occasion, when Nura Jemal, 'the friendliest human being I have ever met', helpfully carried it to her door while she was parking the car.

Tyrshondre was invited over for tea at her and her husband's 22nd-floor flat, and he became friends with their children Yahya, 13, Firdaws, 12, and Yaqub, six. Both families died in the fire.

The teenager, who calls Ms Mamudu 'Grandy', is due to go to Disneyland later this month with some schoolmates, a dream Firdaws never lived to see.

Mrs Mamudu said she had not been back to her flat, but recovery teams had salvaged a treasured possession which had belonged to her late son and family photos, now proudly displayed in her new home.

They also returned boxes of her beloved cacti and aloe vera plants which were miraculously still blooming after more than six months in the charred tower.

She has not yet felt able to able to attend any of the commemorations or evidence sessions in the public inquiry, but is hoping to join the silent walk for the first time on Thursday. 

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