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Fife delegation remembers Aberfan

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A delegation from Fife has paid its respects to victims of the Aberfan disaster.

Fife councillors Bob Young and Tom Adams recently visited the Welsh village of Aberfan, where 116 children and 28 adults were killed in a colliery tragedy on October 21, 1966.

On Friday, a memorial service will be held at Aberfan Cemetery to mark half a century since the disaster which wiped out a generation.

Mr Young travelled to Wales as trustee of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) and senior vice chairman of the Industrial Communities Alliance.

He and fellow CRT trustee Nicky Wilson laid a wreath at the cemetery. Mr Adams also paid his respects as a member of the Alliance.

Mr Young said it was fitting that they remembered the victims ahead of the memorial service.

“We just thought it wasn’t appropriate for all of us to be there on October 21 because that day belongs to Aberfan, so we thought we’d pay our respects quietly.”

Disaster struck when a mountain of mining debris from the Merthyr Vale Colliery became waterlogged after heavy rain, causing a landslide which engulfed homes and devastated Pantglas Junior School.

The graves of the victims of the Aberfan disaster in the village's cemetery.
The graves of the victims of the Aberfan disaster in the village’s cemetery.

A former colliery worker himself, Mr Young said the tragedy touched other mining communities including Fife.

And lessons were learned following an inquiry, which concluded the disaster was “a terrifying tale of bungling ineptitude.”

Mr Young said: “They realised they couldn’t stack slurry the way they were stacking it.

“They realised they couldn’t have these things at the back of housing estates unless they planted heavy trees or bushes.”

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