Wales

Aberfan anniversary: School pupils to hold silence

The aftermath of the landslide which engulfed Pantglas Junior School Image copyright PA
Image caption The landslide engulfed Pantglas Junior School where Hettie Williams was teaching first year pupils

Plans for primary school children to hold a minute's silence to mark the anniversary of the Aberfan disaster have been welcomed.

The 1966 disaster killed 144 people, including 116 children, when a coal tip slid down the mountainside and engulfed the village near Merthyr Tydfil.

Now pupils in Carmarthenshire will hold a silence every year on 21 October after councillors passed a motion.

The chairman of Aberfan Memorial Charity said it was of "great comfort".

David Davies added: "The bereaved, the injured, the survivors and the wider community have always been touched that our fellow citizens in Wales, the UK and indeed around the world have not forgotten what happened in Aberfan.

"That wider empathy swept into our community like a huge wave of loving support most recently in 2016 and the 50th anniversary."

He added the annual silence "is a huge and ongoing source of great comfort to all concerned".

Carmarthenshire council adopted the motion at a meeting on Wednesday.

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Media captionSurvivors recalled hearing the roar of the landslide that would kill 116 children

The tragedy happened at 09:15, just as the pupils of Pantglas Junior School were about to embark on their first lessons.

Some children were still in the playground, others were filing into classrooms ready for register, when coal waste dumped in huge tips on the mountain above the village started to move.

The alarm could not be raised by phone as the cable had been stolen, but it would have made no difference as the slide reached speeds of up to 50mph.

It crashed into the school and houses directly below the tips, causing death and destruction.

Survivors have said they did not see the landslide coming, but heard its incredible roar.

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