Anniversary of the Six Bells mining disaster

Monday 28 June 2010 sees the 50th anniversary of an explosion at the Six Bells Colliery in Monmouthshire. An underground gas and coal dust explosion claimed the lives of 45 men in the tragedy, which was one of worst post-war coal mining disasters in UK history.

At 10.30am on 28 June on the former Six Bells Colliery site there will be an official commemoration service led by the Most Reverend Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. A new memorial to the miners is also set to be unveiled.

The memorial, created from thousands of metal strips, is known as the Guardian of the Valleys and has been designed by Sebastien Boyesen. BBC Wales Arts has a profile of the artist and a slideshow of some of his previous works.

Familes will lay flowers at the foot of the 20m high bronze sculpture of a miner which is dedicated to the memory of the men who lost their lives in the disaster, and also 'to coal mining communities, everywhere'.

There will be other events and activities throughout the day, including guided tours from the Big Pit National Mining Museum by former Six Bells colliery workers, digital stories children's play areas and many more activities.

Full details of the day and the memorial sculpture can be viewed on the Six Bells Community website.

BBC Cymru Wales will broadcast Angel of the Valleys on Monday 5 July from 7pm on BBC Two Wales. The documentary meets those whose lives were touched by tragedy and follows Sebastien Boyesen as he rushes to finish the massive sculpture in time for the commemoration service.

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