Pupils who escaped Willesden primary school fire hold special church service in Harlesden
PUBLISHED: 17:57 29 September 2015 | UPDATED: 10:14 01 October 2015
Days after a devastating fire tore through the roof of a primary school in Willesden pupils and teachers made a show of solidarity at a special church service.
Hundreds of pupils at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic primary school in Goodson Road, packed out the church of Our Lady of Willesden in Nicoll Road, Harlesden, to reunite with teachers who guided them to safety as the fire broke out last Tuesday, destroying the school’s roof and upper floors.
Pupils wore school uniform and sang hymns and favourite songs led by the shrine children’s choir whose members attend St Joseph’s.
Parents, staff and school governors provided readings and prayers during the Mass, which was an opportunity for the school to come together to give thanks for their escape to safety and express gratitude to the emergency services for their efforts to the save the Victorian School building.
Parish priest Father Stephen Willis who led the service said: “Despite the horror of the fire at St Joseph’s,the gathering on Friday was very positive and cheerful.
“It was great to have so many of the children present, and it was important that they could be together again with their class teachers and teaching assistants for the first time since the fire.
“We reminded ourselves that first and foremost, the school is a community which is very much alive and kicking, and we celebrated this in our special mass.
“As Mrs Titus said at the end of Mass, “we are beginning to write a new page in the long history of our school”.
Head teacher Dawn Titus praised children and staff for leaving the building calmly during a tense 2 minute evacuation.
Mrs Titus re-iterated the school’s gratitude to staff and students at Newman Catholic College in Harlesden, who have offered to accommodate St Joseph’s pupils while restoration work is carried out to repair fire damage to the roof and upper floors.
The school’s early years and nursery provision will be relocated to the former Anansi Nursery in Roundwood Park.
Both sites will open on October 5.