Students start fundraising for Armenian lecturer who escaped Grenfell Tower fire

Croydon students have set up a fundraising page for a lecturer who was living at Grenfell Tower, Your Local Guardian reports.

Mesrob Kassemdjian, or Robbie, as his students at University Centre Croydon (UCC) know him was among the people living in the Grenfell Tower blocks at the time the fire engulfed the building last week.

He was able to escape the fire from his flat on the 17th floor, along with his girlfriend and aunt.

At the moment, 79 people have been confirmed dead with that number still expected to rise.

While Robbie was spared his life, he did lose his possessions in the fire.

This included, but not limited to, his extensive book collection, his laptop and research for his PhD.

Now his students at UCC have set up a fundraising page to try and give Robbie a helping hand.

On the JustGiving website with which the fundraising campaign is based, one of the organisers tried to describe what the “much loved” lecturer meant to them.

“We want to try to raise money for Robbie so that he can replace his books and equipment in order to carry on teaching, learning and researching,” it said.

“This is a fundraiser by UCC Criminology Society at University Centre Croydon to give students, staff and the general public, the opportunity to make a contribution to help Robbie get back on his feet.”

Speaking to Channel 4 News outside the building where he once called home, Robbie described the panic felt after he first realised something was wrong.

“I woke up my auntie and with the help of my girlfriend we moved fast so that we could move slowly down the stairs. I tried to warn my neighbour. Him and his wife were right behind us by a couple of minutes.”

At one point Robbie said they felt like they were close to “real disaster.”

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