Today is the 55th anniversary of one of the saddest days of my young life. A rain-soaked and ill-sited colliery spoil tip that loomed over the south Wales village of Aberfan collapsed, burying houses and a school, killing 116 children and 28 adults. Lessons had just begun for the morning when the 34m tip spilled 140,000 cubic yards of spoil into the village.
I didn’t know any of the victims, and had not even heard of the village until that morning. But I remember weeping as the news came over the radio, and I am tearing up now as I type this.
The National Coal Board and several employees were found to be responsible and money was raised. But nothing could replace the lives that were lost due to management’s callous disregard for public safety.