A service of commemoration has been held to mark the fifth anniversary of the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack in which eight people were killed.
A further 48 were injured on 3 June 2017, when terrorists drove into pedestrians in a hired van before attacking passersby with 12-inch knives.
Unity was the central theme of the service on Friday at the nearby Southwark Cathedral, as families of the victims, witnesses and police officers paid respect to those who lost their lives.
The dean of Southwark, the Very Rev Andrew Nunn, dedicated the mass to those who died or were injured, as well as “all who live by the values of inclusion and welcome”.
He also reflected on another terror attack in London in November 2019 in which Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones were stabbed at Fishmongers’ Hall by Usman Khan, a convicted terrorist who was attending a prisoner rehabilitation event. He was shot dead by armed police on London Bridge.
After the service, guests were led to Cathedral Square, a short walk from the venue, to witness the unveiling of a permanent memorial plaque.
Amir Eden, the chair of not-for-profit organisation Living Bankside, which works with those who may need support with their health or wellbeing, read the poem Heavy by Mary Oliver at the service.
He told the PA news agency: “Today was a very important day. It was important to reflect and reconcile and to never forget what had happened – eight people lost their lives, many injured and hundreds traumatised. The service has allowed us to look for the light, to look for the future. In our community, we have seen time and time again that unity, compassion and hope have shone through.”
Eden also reflected on the 2017 attack, in which he recalled “seeing lots of people screaming and shouting and running away and a white van screech past on to the bridge”.
He added: “I didn’t understand what was going on, I thought it was a traffic incident. Then I saw people falling on to the floor and holding themselves and it was horrific.”
Candles were lit and placed on a table to illuminate the altar, in honour of those who died or were injured in the attacks.
Christine Archibald, and Xavier Thomas, died after being struck by the van on the bridge. Alexandre Pigeard, , Sara Zelenak, Kirsty Boden, Sebastien Belanger, and James McMullan, were stabbed near the Boro Bistro on the South Bank. Ignacio Echeverria, died as he tried to protect others from being attacked on nearby Borough High Street.
Ringleader Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane, and Youssef Zaghba, were confronted in Stoney Street and shot dead by police marksmen.
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After the service, arrangements white, yellow and pink flowers were placed in front of the memorial.
An interfaith tea followed the memorial unveiling at Harper Road Mosque, with Eden saying that “tea represents British values – unity and hope” and that having a mass at Southwark Cathedral and a tea at a mosque represented “the inclusion of the community”.
Boris Johnson paid his respects in a Twitter post. “Remembering all those affected by the horrific attack at London Bridge five years ago. My heart goes out to the victims and their families,” the prime minister wrote.
“The indomitable spirit shown by Londoners that night and in the following weeks showed this city will never be cowed in the face of terror.”