On the anniversary of the tragic death of 85-year-old June Harvey, a vigil was held when a 60-foot crane crashed into her home.

Neighbors and others in attendance stood in silence, laying flower tributes on July 8th on the site of June’s Compton Close home next to the Watts Grove construction site in Bromley-by-Bow.

Construction safety activists attended the vigil for June Harvey.
– Photo credit: Mike Brooke

June was trapped in her upstairs bedroom of the house she shared with relatives when the crane broke through the roof.

Her great-nephew Sam Atkinson, who was downstairs, was desperately trying to get to her through the rubble.

Supporting hand from lawyer Helen Clifford for Sam delivering his vigil speech for his great-aunt

A helping hand from attorney Helen Clifford to Sam Atkinson as he delivers his vigil speech for his great-aunt June.
– Photo credit: Mike Brooke

“Two or three minutes in an incident can change your whole life,” he said.

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“I still struggle to fall asleep and have nightmares all the time and wake up so often during the night thinking that something is falling on me. I have anxiety and panic attacks. ”

Sam grew up at the age of two in the house where his great-aunt and mother, Jacqueline, had lived since 1992.

All of his savings, he said, have been placed in temporary shelters for the past 12 months. He spoke tearfully in a speech after a minute’s silence for June.

Sam told the small crowd, including activists fighting for safety on the construction site, about the trauma the family went through.

“We don’t live in a time when cranes should just fall from the sky and kill people within their own four walls,” he said. “I will fight for justice for June Harvey.”

Sam honors his great-aunt, who died in a crane tragedy in Compton Close

Sam pays a floral tribute to his great-aunt June, who was killed in a crane tragedy in Compton Close
– Photo credit: Mike Brooke

Sam, 29, said he learned this week that he was being fired from his job as a qualified chef for a Canary Wharf financial institution.

He said he ran out of savings after making the temporary shelter he and his mother were given in Limehouse more livable.

His attorney Helen Clifford also criticized her for believing that there was a lack of money to provide the Compton Close families with adequate counseling and treatment to address their life-changing trauma.

The lawyer supports the families who are demanding that the joint investigation by the Met Police and the Health and Safety Executive be accelerated and that the prosecution intervene.
The investigation focuses on why the huge crane’s foundations did not hold it stable.
HSE said in a statement to the East London Advertiser: “Analyzing the crane foundations was a significant technical challenge. A thorough investigation has made progress over the past 12 months and the investigation is still ongoing. “
They hope to have a result by the end of the year. Her spokesman added, “We understand this is a difficult time for the anniversary family and we remain determined to complete this investigation as soon as possible.”

June Harvey ... died at the age of 85 when a 60-foot crane crashed through her home

June Harvey … died at the age of 85 when a 60-foot crane crashed through her home

– Credit: Atkinson Family

The June vigil was organized by Families Against Corporate Killers and the Construction Safety Campaign for stricter crane operation laws.

Floral tribute by Sam and Jaqueline Atkinson to June Harvey, 1935-2020

Floral tribute by Sam and Jaqueline Atkinson to June Harvey, 1935-2020
– Photo credit: Mike Brooke