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Grenfell Tower: I 'regret' my reaction, says Theresa May

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Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will "always regret" not meeting the residents of Grenfell Tower in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

Writing in the Evening Standard, Mrs May said she understood her actions may have made it appear she "didn't care".

Ahead of Thursday's one-year anniversary, she said she wanted to make clear that was "never the case".

A total of 72 people died as a result of the blaze, the judge-led inquiry into the fire has said.

Mrs May said it was "clear" that the initial response to the disaster was "not good enough", adding: "I include myself in that."

She continued: "What I did not do on that first visit was meet the residents and survivors who had escaped the blaze.

"But the residents of Grenfell Tower needed to know that those in power recognised and understood their despair.

"And I will always regret that by not meeting them that day, it seemed as though I didn't care."

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image captionTheresa May visited Grenfell Tower the day after the fire but did not meet survivors

The public inquiry into the fire is currently paused for a week of memorials and vigils to mark the anniversary.

In addition to the 71 victims who died in the blaze, Maria Del Pilar Burton, 74, died in January. She had been in hospital since she was rescued from the 19th floor.

Members of the north Kensington community will come together for a 24-hour vigil on the eve of the anniversary.

At 1:30 BST on Thursday, the names of the fire's victims will be read out at the nearby St Clement's church.

At midday on the day of the anniversary, survivors and the bereaved will gather close to the tower's base to observe a minute's silence.

media captionGrenfell Tower was a death trap, says survivors' lawyer

In a show of solidarity, 12 tower blocks in the surrounding area will be illuminated in green.

The buildings, plus Grenfell, will be lit up from 00:54 on Thursday - the time the fire is thought to have started - until 5:00. For the following four evenings they will be illuminated from dusk until midnight.

The following day, schools across the country are expected to take part in "Green for Grenfell", a day to "celebrate the spirit of people coming together".

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