The Welsh Guardian

No, not a regional variant of the national newspaper, but a 66 foot tall statue erected in 2010 of a coal miner at the site of the Six Bells pit near Abertillery in South Wales.  It commemorates the death of 45 coal miners on the 28th June 1960 at 10.45am, when an underground explosion released lethal concentrations of carbon monoxide.

Debbie and I had never heard of the disaster before, unlike Aberfan, I guess because we were so young when it happened and of course these were working men affected not children.

Despite this it was a terrible tragedy and so we visited it at the suggestion of friends Thelma and George, who we’d met on our cruise earlier in the year, as they live in Blaina a short drive away.


The Six Bells pit was closed by British Coal in 1988, landscaped and renamed Parc Arael Griffin which was the original name of the colliery.  The statue is reached from a small car park next to a chapel in the heart of the town.  A lot of the surrounding countryside was fenced off ready for the building of a new primary school.

George and I stopped about halfway to the statue itself for a breather, but the two “girls” carried on for a closer inspection.  Even from the distance the statue was very impressive and we all agreed a fitting tribute to all South Wales miners who lost their lives in pursuit of “King Coal”.


Afterwards we visited the small museum next to the cafe that alas stopped serving food at 2.30pm, so we resolved to return at a later date.  Instead we made our way to Brynmawr to the Willow Tree restaurant for a bite to eat, before dropping off Thelma and George and returning home to Molly & Hamish.

The next day we took Molly & Hamish for their morning walk in Castle Meadows, now largely reopened after the Eisteddfod clean up.  Apart from chasing & recovering the tennis ball which proves Molly’s expertise as a real “retriever” we diverted slightly onto the gravel bank of the River Usk where she also displayed a knack for drinking the fresh water while paddling the water’s edge!


Given Hamish’s advancing years (he’ll soon be 11) he sensibly remained a slightly incredulous (but dry) onlooker.  Afterwards we all walked slowly into town for our customary Coffee Pot bacon sandwich and americana coffee,  eaten al fresco in Nevill Street.  The owners always bring out our order with a bowl of water for the dogs while we just watch the world slowly walk by…


The Welsh Guardian

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