Donald Hyslop, chair of the Borough Market trustees, on how the local community is coming together to mark the anniversary of last year’s attacks
This weekend marks the first anniversary of the attacks that took place on 3rd June 2017 on London Bridge and around Borough Market.
For the families of those who were killed, and for everyone whose lives have been fundamentally altered, we continue to offer our help and solidarity wherever we can give it. In this, we are far from alone. In the aftermath of these and other attacks in the city, it was impossible not be struck by the spirit with which people came together to support those who were harmed, lost loved ones, witnessed the events and helped with the emergency response. In the wake of so much pain and trauma, this sense of unity has been truly powerful.
We have seen its power up close here at Borough Market, where the compassion, sympathy and practical assistance that poured in from both near and far did so much to help our community through the difficult days and weeks that followed the attacks. Indeed, that strong sense of community was even able, less than two weeks later, to turn its remarkable reserves of energy to the material and moral support needed by our fellow Londoners in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire.
Bonds of friendship
Tomorrow, as the Market bell rings to mark the end of the day’s trading, much of the Borough community—traders, staff, shoppers and locals—will gather together on the Market’s Middle Road to quietly pay their respects to those affected by the attacks. On Sunday, in a continuation of that collective spirit, Borough Market will join with Southwark Cathedral, Southwark Council, the City of London, the Mayor of London, the NHS, the police and a whole host of local residents, businesses and charities to remember the events of last year, but also to reflect on the bonds of friendship and togetherness that prevailed in their aftermath.
A formal service at Southwark Cathedral will be followed by the dedication of the church’s four new corbels—the carved stone sculptures whose faces look out from above the choir aisles. These impressive new carvings include a likeness of the courageous PC Wayne Marques, who was one of the first police officers on the scene last year. Another is designed by local schoolchildren: a collection of produce from Borough Market, chosen as a symbol of community and sustenance.
A living memorial
Many of the thousands of floral tributes that were left on London Bridge and in Borough Market last summer were later recycled into compost. This will be used to give life to a new olive tree, which will be planted as a living memorial in the grounds of the Cathedral on Sunday.
Borough Market does not trade on a Sunday, but the gates and the spaces will be open to anyone seeking a moment of quiet reflection. There will also be an opportunity to join in a collective remembrance gathering on London Bridge at 4:30pm for a minute’s silence, then a laying of flowers at the Southwark Needle sculpture at the foot of the bridge at 4:45pm.
At the end of the day a simple, poignant message, “#LondonUnited”, will be projected onto the bridge to provide a fitting conclusion to what will be a day of sadness, remembrance and contemplation—but also a day that draws on the resolve and unity of our community, and of people from all over the world.