On this occasion I’m not only writing about the Aberfan disaster that happened on the 21st October 1966, but also a special joyful anniversary that Debbie and I share today that occurred in the same area.
Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the disaster and I’m sure there will be huge press coverage, but to Debbie the disaster has a special personal resonance.
Her father Cliff was present shortly after the mud-slide and was pictured in the press helping to dig the victims out, as can be seen in the photo below.
Debbie recollects that when her father came back home each day needing to sleep, he came back grey, not wanting to speak before returning the next day, which he did for four days. Debbie’s mother Glenys and sister Janice helped out too with cooking each day to feed the rescue teams in her junior school in Merthyr Vale.
Debbie was eight years old at the time and still remembers the day vividly, it was such a tragic waste with 116 children and 28 adults losing their lives. She lost her paternal second-cousin, Richard Goldsworthy aged ten, that day as well as a good friend, called Necia James aged nine, with whom she used to go to piano lessons. Both are commemorated at the memorial.
The second reason I’m writing about Aberfan, as you can see on the photos below, is that today is the twenty-fourth anniversary of Debbie and I getting our marriage blessed in St. Mary’s chapel, Merthyr Vale which is just across the River Taff from Aberfan.
As we’d both been married before, Debbie & I organised a civil wedding in Hounslow Registry Office on 17th March 1990. A year and a half later on the 19th October 1991 we were very grateful to the Rev. Williams for kindly agreeing to a church ceremony to cement our marriage even further.
Our good friend (and introducer) Rose S. took the photo outside the chapel, it was a low key affair, but we celebrated in style with Rose and husband Paul in the White Swan, Llanfrynach that evening where we’d met for the first time on our (semi) blind date only shortly before on the 16th December 1989!
So many sad and happy memories…