[Image: a black woman dressed in orange, in an orange and red room]

Part 5 of a series of posts honoring the Grenfell Tower victims.

Mary Mendy, from the 20th
floor of Grenfell Tower

Mary Mendy was Khadija Saye’s mother, and was staying at her flat the
night the fire broke out. She was 52 years old when she died.

She and her daughter were given a joint memorial service. At
the service, Amazing Grace and Abide with Me were played, and the minister gave a speech in which he criticized perception of Grenfell as “deprived.”

“In so many ways, Mary and Khadija represented the life and
soul of this community: western and African, Christian and Muslim, creative and caring.

The deprivation of those who know nothing of the life in Grenfell Tower, who do not know, who never experienced the incredible personalities of Mary and Khadija, or whose lives are untouched by this appalling tragedy – they are the really deprived.

“We are those who have been strangely blessed, at least in the sense that we have been truly blessed to know Mary and Khadija, and we know that all our lives have been enriched by them.”

Mary’s sister Betty
issued a statement on behalf of the family:

“My beloved sister, words can never describe the pain of losing you. I can’t believe you are gone. You were a wonderful sister, an incredible aunt, the best mother any child could have wished for.

You were an amazing friend to all those who knew you. Your heart was pure, your soul was one of a kind. You will be missed for a lifetime. You will remain forever in our hearts; you and your beautiful daughter, Khadija Saye.”

Mary’s niece Marion also paid tribute to her at the Grenfell inquiry:

“Mary Mendy was a carer who worked within her community. She
was a humanitarian who made it a passion to help those less fortunate than herself. She frequently travelled to Gambia and offered donations to hospitals and other organisations. On the night of 14 June 2017 our family lost two much-loved members. My aunt was the strong one, the fighter and the protector. The pain is unbearable. There are no words to describe the emptiness that it is in our hearts.”

Her cousin Clarrie Mendy set up the support group Relative Justice for Grenfell, and co-founded the group Humanity 4 Grenfell. She said,

“I don’t believe my soul’s going to rest… I’ve got life illnesses but they are secondary compared to this, this quest for justice. Because it’s unjust. There needs to be redress, by the grace of god’s will. Every drop of blood and bone you see in me when I’m standing, and those surrounding me, will be looking for this and we’re not going to be shortchanged.”