Two teenagers release song in honour of Grenfell victims

Heartbroken teenagers pen a moving tribute song in honour of their friends killed in the Grenfell fire – and are surprised by Emeli Sande on Lorraine

  • Yousra Cherbika and Johara Menacar, both 13, penned a tribute song
  • Teenagers, who lost friends in the Grenfell fire last year, appeared on Lorraine
  • They were joined by singer Emeli Sande, who’s song Read All About It provides the melody for the track
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Two teenage girls who penned a version of an Emeli Sande song in memory of school friends they lost in the Grenfell fire were joined by the singer on ITV’s Lorraine.

Yousra Cherbika and Johara Menacar, both 13, from west London, wrote Fire In Grenfell using Emeli’s song Read All About It as a backing track, to honour their close pals who died in the tragedy which claimed 71 lives in June 2017.

Emeli had surprised the girls backstage before joining them on the couch where she praised them for the emotional tribute.

‘I think it’s incredible, I think what your both doing is so powerful and so important.’


Yousra Cherbika (left) and Johara Menacar (right), both 15, from west London, wrote ‘Fire in Grenfell’ using Emeli’s song Read All About It


The Grenfell Tower blaze claimed 71 lives in June 2017. More than 200 escaped the fire but the tragedy left many without a home


Emeli Sande appeared on ITV’s Lorraine where she praised the two teenagers for writing the track 

A long-time resident of Grenfell Walk, which lies directly under the Grenfell Tower, 13-year-old Yousra Cherbika Cherbika lost her home and all of her belongings in the fire that devastated West London last year. 

Yousra, who is still living in a hotel one year on from the fire, said: ‘The attention is taken away from the children. 

‘And it’s almost like we are not affected as much as the adults because we don’t understand as much as the adults do, but we are affected just as much as we have seen just as much as the adults have seen.’  

The girls who dedicated their song to one of their best friends Firdaws Hashim, 12, both also wore t-shirts with pictures of Nur Huda el-Wahabi, 15, another friend who died in the tragedy that also displaced Johara Menacar.

Scared and unable to talk about the trauma they had faced, the girls decided to convey their emotions through song and just three days after the fire they re-wrote Emeli’s hit single.

Joharra explained to presenter Lorraine Kelly how writing the song had helped them deal with the tragedy last summer: ‘We got our voices heard.

‘We know what children are feeling from their point of view and not just what the adults are feeling. 

‘We get all our information from our mums and dads but it’s what we are feeling and how we are going to express ourselves.’


 The girls met the singer backstage at the ITV studios before she joined them on the couch to discuss the song




Yousra (left) was wearing a t-shirt with an image of her friend Nur Huda el-Wahabi who passed away in the fire. (Right) Johara also sported an image of Nur Huda with her family


More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and many wrote their names on their helmets for fear of not making it out alive


The Grenfell Tower in west London in April, the fire left many people without homes and is set to be turned into a memorial

WHAT HAPPENED IN THE GRENFELL TOWER FIRE AND HOW MANY PEOPLE DIED?


The 24-storey Grenfell Tower block on fire in June 2017 

A blaze tore through the 24-storey Grenfell tower block in west London in the early hours of June 14, 2017 after a fire began on the kitchen of a fourth floor flat. 

The exterior of the tower in north Kensington was quickly engulfed in flames before consuming the interior of the block, with firefighters responding to a fire after it was reported at 00:54 BST (23:54 GMT).

The fire started in a Hotpoint fridge freezer on the fourth floor and was not deliberate.  

After official death toll figures were challenged in the emotionally-charged weeks after the fire, police said the final figure for the number of victims was 71, with more than 200 people managing to escape.

Police said there should have been 350 people in the block at the time of the fire, with 14 residents not home at the time. 

There were 120 homes in the tower block that were destroyed including more in the surrounding area. 

Around 200 firefighters were sent to fight the blaze and rescue those still trapped inside, with 65 people rescued. 

A public inquiry opened on September 14 into the cause and spread of the fire. 

Flammable cladding – installed on Grenfell Tower in a recent renovation – was slammed by experts who recently explained in the inquiry that it’s incorrect installation contributed to the rapid spread of the fire.


Around 200 firefighters were sent to fight the blaze and rescue those still trapped inside. Fire and rescue workers at a one minute silence by Grenfell Tower in west Londo in the days following the blaze

In a report five fire safety experts examined the fire and gave their views on how the fire started, how it spread and why so many people were killed.

Dr Barbara Lane, an expert commissioned by the Grenfell Tower inquiry, delivered an excoriating assessment of the refurbishment which finished a year before the fire.

The rainscreen cladding put on the building used material that did not meet fire safety standards, while the system as a whole was not capable of effectively preventing the inferno spreading, she found.

Another expert, Professor Luke Bisby, found a series of problems with refurbishment work carried out on Grenfell before the fire.

Prof Bisby said the main reason the fire spread was the polyethylene-filled ACM rainscreen in the cladding.

A public inquiry, led by retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, is taking place , looking at the adequacy of regulations, the tower’s refurbishment and the response of the emergency services in the immediate aftermath. 

Hundreds of people are still without a home with many Grenfell residents living in hotels and temporary accommodation a year on. 

Emeli, who released the original track alongside rapper Professor Green, said: ‘I think it’s incredible, I think what your both doing is so powerful and so important.

‘In honour of the friends you’ve lost and also just to raise a voice for children and what you’ve experienced and to do that with the power of music is just wonderful. 

‘Music allows a message to spread to so many people, so well done and I’m so proud of you.’

Lorraine airs weekdays on ITV at 8.30am 

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