Grenfell Tower: Tribute to 'final victim' of fire" width="976" height="549">
The husband of the woman regarded as the final victim of the Grenfell Tower fire has told the public inquiry how his wife suffered after the tragedy. Maria del Pilar Burton, 74, who had dementia, died in January after her health deteriorated following the fire.In an emotional tribute, Nicholas Burton said it took away her "dignity and everything we had in this world". Relatives of all 72 victims will be given the chance to commemorate loved ones during the inquiry.The inquiry will look into all the deaths of the June 2017 fire.
A total of 12 people are due to be remembered on the inquiry's second day.They include three generations of the Choucair family and Rania Ibrahim, who died with her two young children. Families are being given as long as they need to tell the inquiry about their loved ones through a mixture of words, pictures and videos.
Maria del Pilar Burton, known as Pily, was born in Spain in the 1940s and was one was one of the very first residents in Grenfell Tower.Nicholas Burton, who was with his wife for 34 years, told the inquiry "she could have chosen anybody and I don't know why she chose me"."I loved my wife and I was in awe of her," he said. "She was an extraordinary woman."He said the fire had a "terrible effect" on Pily, who had been diagnosed with dementia in 2015, and made her very distressed.
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He said: "How do you explain what had happened to a person in her condition? That our house had gone, that our dog had gone, our good friends and neighbours may have passed?"Mr Burton had to have life-saving surgery in the wake of the fire due to an enlarged heart. His wife's condition had worsened by the time he emerged and she suffered a stroke in January. She never recovered and died on 29 January.He said: "She was a unique, beautiful, exceptional person until this tragedy had taken it away. "Let me tell you, no matter what indignities my wife had to suffer, my Pily was perfect."
A tribute to Debbie Lamprell, a 45-year-old safety officer at Opera Holland Park, from her mother was read by one of her former colleagues, Michael Volpe.Miriam Lamprell said: "When I think of Debbie, I think of her laughing. She was always laughing."She said her daughter was happy and "did not want more, she felt blessed".The night of the fire, she said Debbie had messaged her to say she had got home. "I thought that's OK she's safe. I went to bed and got up in the morning and I didn't have a daughter.""I am bereft without her. If she had died a normal death I would have been able to hold her and say goodbye. "I feel a part of me has been ripped out. Nothing since has been worth it any more."
Memorial stone at Opera Holland Park, where Debbie worked
The inquiry was played a video of her memorial at Opera Holland Park, where friends and fellow staff paid tribute and then sang Amazing Grace.
Grenfell Tower fire
Grenfell Tower Inquiry
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