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Remembering

Paul Linford reminds me of "The Aberfan Disaster, which took place 40 years ago" today.
One of my earliest memories - I was the same age as many of the primary children who died that awful day - I can remember my red-eyed mother listening to the news on the Robert's Radio in the kitchen. When you have children you will know how personal the suffering of any child is.

BBC NEWS | Wales | Reflecting on a lost generation

The National Coal Board, which owned the mines and tips, tried to claim it was an act of God.

Lord Robens, the board's chairman, blamed a natural spring which had been pouring water into the heart of the tip, but said it was impossible to know it was there.

That was untrue however. It had been common knowledge in the village. People had previously voiced fears about the tip's safety.

Conclusions from a tribunal of inquiry set up to investigate the disaster were scathing. The coal board was condemned for its weaknesses and failures, the government criticised, but no one was ever prosecuted, fined or dismissed

The disaster caused an outpouring of grief, and £1.75m flooded into the village. Then came the second blow.

Afraid the tips that remained could slip again, the villagers wanted them removed. When their demands weren't met they dumped bags of slurry in the Welsh office.

The government finally agreed they should be removed, but the village had to pay £150,000 from the disaster fund towards the work...

"I was scandalised by the behaviour of Lord Robens and chiefs of the coal board, the failure of anyone in authority to understand the traumas of the people of Aberfan and the failures of the government - the most notorious forcing the fund to pay for the removal of the tips."

The cash was eventually repaid 30 years later but without interest payments, and is money the village says is now needed to maintain the graves. .

Comments

I looked at the photos on the BBC news website today, it was deeply shocking and desprately sad even today. All those poor children and their poor parents.

This is my earliest datable memory. I was only 2yrs 8mths old at the time. I remember my mother telling my father about it as she picked him up from work. I was in the back of the family car, a Triumph Herald.
It had such an impact because my father is from Mountain Ash, near Aberfan and knew the area well.

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