elevision personality and rapper Big Zuu has described playing at the Grenfell Memorial Cup as “more important” to him than winning Baftas.
Big Zuu – whose real name is Zuhair Hassan – joined bereaved relatives and survivors at the community tournament ahead of the five-year anniversary of the fire on Saturday at Queens Park Rangers’ stadium.
A series of five matches kicked off at 10am, with friendly face-offs between Grenfell Athletic Women’s team against workers from mental health groups, and a youth tournament.
Grenfell Athletic FC, which formed after the fire to support bereaved families, played local teams throughout the afternoon to remember the blaze’s 72 victims.
Speaking ahead of the game, Big Zuu, who lives locally, said he knew Grenfell Tower residents and wanted to show that people had not forgotten them.
When asked how marking the community event felt after winning two Baftas weeks before, he said: “Today is more important.
“The Baftas – it’s lovely to get an accolade like that.
“But caring about your local community is way more important.”
He added: “It means a lot, it’s important for the community to remember what happened at Grenfell.
“I’ve been involved from the beginning so we’ve got to show that we haven’t forgotten.”
He added: “It’s easy to be involved at the start and it’s even easier to forget – it’s almost five years now.
“So to see the community come out and to have QPR give us the place is so important to show that the love is still there, that we haven’t forgotten.
“Grenfell is still in our hearts.”
Co-organiser Karim Mussilhy, whose uncle Hesham Rahman died in the fire, said that events like the tournament help grieving families to keep “fighting for justice” – despite feeling like nothing has changed for them in almost five years.
“Football has always been a massive part of our community. For me personally, I grew up playing football in the area; I still play football in the area.
“Football is such a huge part of where we live and our lives, and it’s just incredible to be able to bring it together over something so horrific (and) to be able to celebrate the lives rather than mourning them all the time.”
Mr Mussilhy said he had fallen in love with the sport due to his uncle, adding that the last five years had been “horrific” as there was “no accountability” for the fire.
“We are still campaigning. We are still fighting for justice. We will do everything that we can to make sure that some positivity comes out of the death of our families,” he said.
“But unfortunately it feels like we’re not close to where we want to be.”
Co-organiser of the tournament and a Grenfell Tower resident who survived the fire, Paul Menacer, 28, said football has helped him recover from the trauma.
He said: “(The Memorial Cup) is very, very important to me on a personal level because QPR were very supportive in the community for the past four-and-a-half years.
“My mental health is quite bad so just to forget about those problems for a few hours, I find it’s a really big stress reliever for me.
“Nothing has changed, we still want justice for the 72 people who passed away, there’s questions that need to be answered and I hope that through the inquiry people are held accountable.”