Grenfell children deliver the alternative Christmas message


Luana and Megan Gomes, Amiel and Danel Miller, and Hayam AtmaniImage copyright
PA

Image caption

The children all lived in Grenfell Tower

Five children who survived the Grenfell Tower fire will deliver this year’s alternative Christmas message.

The message, broadcast on Channel 4 on Christmas Day, will urge people to “love and cherish” their families.

The children, aged between seven and 12, will also speak about the importance of having a home and their experiences on the night of the fire.

Children who survived the tragedy also took part in a service at St Paul’s to mark six months since the fire.

Last year, the alternative Christmas message was given by Brendan Cox, the widower of the MP Jo Cox, who was murdered during the EU referendum campaign.

‘Everyone helped’

In this year’s message, 10-year-old Hayam Atmani, who lived on the 15th floor of the tower, will say: “My message for everyone at Christmas is to stay as a family, and don’t suffer about anything.

“I know this has been a really hard time for everyone, but everyone went through and everyone helped as a family. So I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.”

She will describe the family’s life in a hotel, where she will also spend her birthday on 27 December, as “not that much fun”.

Sisters Megan and Luana Gomes, 10 and 12, who were both put into induced comas after the fire, to be treated for smoke inhalation, will also take part in the broadcast.

Having spent five months in a hotel before moving into a temporary flat, they will both speak of the importance of having a home.

Megan will say: “My Christmas message is that I think all families, children and parents should have a nice warm cosy home.

“I just want everyone in the world to have a house at least.”

Luana will add: “My Christmas message is that everybody should love and respect each other because you never know what tomorrow will be like. And it is important to love and cherish your family.”

A real tree

The children will also recount their memories of the night of the fire.

Brothers Amiel and Danel Miller, 10 and seven, who lived on the 17th floor, will describe hearing screaming and their mother telling them to get their clothes on and run down the stairs.

Danel will say: “We got outside and then we saw stuff falling down from the tower and grass on fire.”

But the children will also talk of happier things, including memories of their former homes and their favourite aspects of Christmas.

Hayam will describe how her friends admired her former home. “Everyone came. They were just saying, ‘Oh that’s so cool! I wish I lived here.’ You could see the whole area; parks and stuff,” she will say.

Megan will describe how her family always got a real Christmas tree to gather around.

And Danel will bring a smile to viewers’ faces, telling them that his Christmas message is to “share food!”.

Previous alternative Christmas messengers have included whistle-blower Edward Snowden and the parents of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Channel 4 has broadcast the series since 1993. This year’s will air at 3pm.



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