A vigil for alleged victims of child abuse was held outside a guest house in Barnes being investigated under Operation Fernbridge.

About 20 people gathered outside Elm Guest House, Rocks Lane, on Monday, September 15, to lay flowers and balloons for children whose lives were affected by the alleged abuse.

The guest house is at the centre of a police investigation into allegations of child sex abuse dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.

It is alleged that the guest house was advertised as a place for gay men to have parties, but was the centre of a VIP paedophile ring visited by powerful people.

The vigil was organised by a man who says his childhood friend had his life destroyed by the impact of abuse at the guest house.

White balloons and flowers were chosen as symbols of childhood innocence used by Belgians when they protested in 1996 at the deaths of scores of children at the hands of abusers as their government stood by.

Among those in attendance were Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, and Dr Liz Davies, a former whistleblower and social worker at Islington Council.

Speaking at the vigil, Mr Saunders said: “These sorts of gatherings are always full of quality rather than quantity and I don’t think we should be disheartened because there is just a dozen or more of us here.

"This is an issue that society does not want to face.

"It’s an issue that they want to keep swept under the carpet. Thank God for the survivors now who are coming forward everywhere and speaking out."