Service of commemoration for fifth anniversary of London Bridge terror attack

·3-min read
Members of the clergy and congregation of Southwark Cathedral (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
Members of the clergy and congregation of Southwark Cathedral (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

The theme of unity was at the heart of a service of commemoration to mark the fifth anniversary of the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack.

Eight people were killed and 48 more injured on June 3 2017 when terrorists ploughed into pedestrians in a hired van then ran amok with 12-inch knives.

Families of victims, witnesses and police officers paid respect to those who lost their lives at the service at Southwark Cathedral on Friday.

Memorial plaque in Cathedral Square (Danielle Desouza/PA)
Memorial plaque in Cathedral Square (Danielle Desouza/PA)

The Dean of Southwark, the Very Reverend Andrew Nunn, dedicated the mass to those who died or where injured, as well as “all who live by the values of inclusion and welcome”.

He also reflected on another terror attack in London in November 2019, when Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones were killed at Fishmongers’ Hall by Usman Khan.

Amir Eden, the chair of not-for-profit Living Bankside – which works with those in the Southbank area who may need support with their health or wellbeing, read the poem Heavy by Mary Oliver.

He told the PA news agency: “Today was a very important day. It was important to reflect and reconcile and to never forget what had happened – eight people lost their lives, many injured and hundreds traumatised.

“The service has allowed us to look for the light, to look for the future. In our community, we have seen time and time again, that unity, compassion and hope have shone through.”

The service has allowed us to look for the light, to look for the future. In our community, we have seen time and time again, that unity, compassion and hope have shone through.

Amir Eden

He also reflected on the 2017 attack, in which he recalled “seeing lots of people screaming and shouting and running away and a white van screech past onto the bridge”.

He added: “I didn’t understand what was going on, I thought it was a traffic incident. Then I saw people falling onto the floor and holding themselves and it was horrific.”

Candles were lit and placed on a table to illuminate the altar, to honour those who died or were injured in the attacks.

Christine Archibald, 30, and Xavier Thomas, 45, died after being struck by the van on the bridge.

Alexandre Pigeard, 26, Sara Zelenak, 21, Kirsty Boden, 28, Sebastien Belanger, 36, and James McMullan, 32, were stabbed near the Boro Bistro on the South Bank.

Ignacio Echeverria, 39, died as he tried to protect others from being attacked on nearby Borough High Street.

Ringleader Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, were confronted in Stoney Street and shot dead by police marksmen.

After the service, guests in attendance were led to Cathedral Square, a short walk from the venue, to witness the unveiling of a permanent memorial plaque.

Memorial plaque for victims of 2017 London Bridge terror attack (Danielle Desouza/PA)
Memorial plaque for victims of 2017 London Bridge terror attack (Danielle Desouza/PA)

An inscription in front of the memorial read: “This stone is remnants of the London Bridge designed by Sir John Rennie.”

Flower arrangements which featured white, yellow and pink flowers were placed in front of the memorial.

An interfaith tea followed the memorial unveiling at Harper Road Mosque, with Mr Eden saying that “tea represents British values – unity and hope” and that having a mass at Southwark Cathedral and a tea at a mosque represented the inclusion of the community.

The Prime Minister paid his respects in a Twitter post, which read: “Remembering all those affected by the horrific attack at London Bridge five years ago. My heart goes out to the victims and their families.

“The indomitable spirit shown by Londoners that night and in the following weeks showed this city will never be cowed in the face of terror.”

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