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Aberfan Service of Remembrance

An Aberfan Service of Remembrance is being held at St Margaret’s Church, Mountain Ash, on Friday October 21, starting at 9am.

Organised by the Council, the County-wide service is open to everyone. It is being held to coincide with the exact time of the Aberfan disaster, 50 years ago on the day.

The town of Mountain Ash, and its surrounding areas, has strong links with the community of nearby Aberfan.

The tragedy that took place in Aberfan, Merthyr Tydfil, at 9.15am on Friday, October 21, 1966, claimed the lives of 144 people – 116 of them primary schoolchildren.

A spoil tip containing waste material from the coal-mining industry slid down the mountainside above the village of Aberfan and engulfed Pantglas Junior School on the final day of term.

Coal miners from Mountain Ash and surrounding areas played a vital role during the rescue operation, many being called from their shifts underground at Navigation Colliery, Deep Duffryn Colliery, Cwm Cynon Colliery and Penrikyber Colliery.

The emergency whistle sounded at the collieries on the morning, just a few hours into the start of the Day Shift and miners, still in their working clothes and helmets, made their way over the hillside behind Caegarw and descended the other side into the community of Aberfan.

The miners assisted the families and emergency services and many remained in the area around the clock.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is hosting a Service of Remembrance, which will incorporate a minute’s silence at 9.15am. A minute’s silence will also be observed across the Council’s buildings.

The Service of Remembrance is being officiated by Reverend Michael Jones and will feature The Combined Primary Schools Choir.

Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, Cllr Andrew Morgan, said:

“Just like the whole of Wales, the people of Rhondda Cynon Taf will be united in their thoughts at 9.15am on Friday, October 21,as we remember all those children and adults who lost their lives on that terrible morning 50 years ago.

“We also remember the friends and families of those left behind, the countless people who helped in the rescue and recovery process and those who still live, on a daily basis, with the horrific consequences of that Friday in 1966.

“Our coal-mining community played such an important role on the day, and the days and weeks that followed, and is its therefore fitting that we mark the 50th anniversary in the town of Mountain Ash.

“Our Aberfan Service of Remembrance is open to everyone and I am sure many who will attend will be retired miners who were a part of that rescue operation all those years ago.”

The Aberfan Service of Remembrance, organised by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, takes place at St Margaret’s Church, Mountain Ash, at 9am on Friday, October 21. All are welcome.

Doors will be open from 8.30am onwards.