Silence observed in Wales to mark 50th anniversary of Aberfan disaster

This morning Wales fell silent as the country remembered the Aberfan disaster. Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones had called on the people of Wales to pause for the minute's silence. It was on this day fifty years ago, 21 October 1966, that a catastrophic collapse of a colliery spoil tip killed 116 children and 28 adults in the coal mining village of Aberfan in South Wales. A day of events to commemorate the disaster included a service at Aberfan Cemetery at 09:15. Prince Charles is visiting Aberfan memorial garden to unveil a plaque in memory of the victims and will attend a reception with the families of some of those who lost their lives. 

The memorial service at the cemetery was led by Father Mark Prevett and included the official laying of wreaths. A service of remembrance, organised by Rhondda Cynon Taf council, was also held at St Margaret's Church, in Mountain Ash at 09:00. Coal miners from Mountain Ash and surrounding areas played a crucial role during the rescue operation. The bells rang out for 45 minutes from St Tydfil's Church, in Merthyr Tydfil at 09:16, after the minute's silence. Those ringing the bells selected as they are the same age as the children who died would have been today.

Flags are flying at half mast from The Welsh Assembly and a book of condolence has been opened in the Senedd. Other books of condolence available for members of the public to sign are at Aberfan Library, Merthyr council's civic centre and Cyfarthfa Castle Museum. St David's Church in Merthyr, is open from 10:00 until 16:00 for prayer and reflection. At 19:00 there will be a service at St Mary and the Holy Innocents Church in Nixonville, Merthyr Vale, at which the Rev Irving Penberthy, the Methodist minister covering Aberfan at the time, will preach and the congregation will also be addressed by the Assistant Bishop of Llandaff, David Wilbourne. 


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