The Students’ Union’s French Society has released a statement offering support after Paris’ famed Notre Dame cathedral was seriously damaged by fire on Sunday.
The medieval building was seen ablaze on Sunday evening, and the fire raged for several hours, causing the spire to fall and the roof to cave in.
Earlier today, the French Society released a statement expressing their shock about the tragedy on their Facebook page, in both French and English.
It said: “Our thoughts are with the French people, especially with the French students here in Sheffield.
“It was only a couple of months ago that we as a society were in Paris, many of us visiting the beautiful cathedral, and to see such an important part of French history in flames is devastating.
“We’ve seen that this is also so important for many students here who aren’t French; Notre Dame is not only monumental but also impactful to so many. We thank students for their continued support.”
They also extended their offer of help to students struggling with the tragedy, as well as signposting students to other places they could get help.
“If you would like support surrounding this recent event, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us, or the Sheffield Student’s Union International Officer, Rex,” they added.
Help is available
Rex Béchu, who herself is French, issued a statement in French on her ISO Facebook page, which translates as: “I am saddened and shocked by the images of Notre-Dame still in flames while I’m writing this.
“I can’t help but think about particularly the French students in Sheffield tonight. I wish I could find the words how moved I am by this event.”
She also extended the offer of help to students struggling with the tragedy, and later shared the French Society’s statement on her page.
It has been speculated that the cause of the blaze was the ongoing refurbishment of Notre Dame, meaning much of the building was under scaffolding.
The BBC said firefighters spent four hours trying to save the building on Sunday night, and managed to preserve the main structure, including its belltowers.
French President Emmanuel Macron called it a tragedy, and cancelled a speaking arrangement as the fire raged.