The chief of a Grenfell housing association, which lost 8 residents in the fire, has been labelled “tasteless in the extreme” for hosting a book launch party on the same day of the first anniversary of the tragedy.
Kate Davies, who heads Notting Hill Genesis, a housing association that owned flats in the Grenfell Tower, and who also runs a fashion blog, has been told to “show some respect,” after it was revealed she would be hosting a party for friends to celebrate the launch of her book – the same night a memorial will be held for the 72 who perished in the fire.
Campaigners have called the timing “staggering”, “jarring” and “extraordinary”, reports The Mirror. Emma Dent Coad, Labour MP for Kensington, who became Grenfell’s parliamentary representative just days before the fire thought that Davies was showing a lack of sensitivity in hosting a party on such an emotional day.
She said: “As a fashion blogger, Kate Davies has a perfect right to launch her book with a party whenever she wishes. However, as a chief executive of a housing association which owned flats in Grenfell Tower where people died, she should show some respect.
“Many local Notting Hill residents are devastated by the anniversary. Her timing is tasteless in the extreme.”
Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster said: “What the chief executive does in her own time is a matter for her. However, the anniversary of the Grenfell disaster is a very important occasion and, as NHHT tenants died in the fire, I would hope that the organisation is, as a matter of respect, represented at senior level.”
The current trust’s predecessor, Notting Hill Housing, lost eight residents in three flats of Grenfell tower it was using as temporary accommodation last June.
An assortment of politicians such as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, residents and campaigners will commemorate the tragedy with a memorial walk from 7pm on Thursday near the tower, close to the heart of Notting Hill.
It would appear that the chief executive of Notting Hill Genesis won’t be making the event. The Mirror reports that Davies has invited friends from 6pm to help “celebrate” her book with wine, music, networking, and fabric and make-up workshops.
Davies’ blog about fashion, which she runs in her spare time between her £220,000-a-year housing role, admitted “I know not everyone can come” adding: “It’s the first anniversary of Grenfell and a number of my friends will be involved in special events in our area.”
A Notting Hill Genesis spokesman has responded to the story, saying: “This is a private event to launch Kate Davies’ book on the subject of fashion. It has been produced independently of the housing association and in no way detracts from the efforts to remember those so tragically lost in the Grenfell Tower tragedy a year ago.
“Notting Hill Genesis staff will be remembering those affected, including our tenants who sadly lost their lives, throughout the day and of course taking part in the national silence at midday.”
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