Friday, 21 October 2016

Charles remembers at Aberfan

The Prince of Wales in Aberfan on October 21st 2016
(photo Clarence House Instagram)

It was one of the saddest days in British history and today the Prince of Wales joined millions of people across the UK in remembering those who died at Aberfan. Prince Charles travelled to the Welsh village to join commemorations on the fiftieth anniversary of the tragedy which claimed 144 lives. The prince came to mourn and to mark one of the worst disasters to affect Wales.

The streets of Aberfan were filled with those who wanted to remember on this sad anniversary. The Prince of Wales met many of them, speaking to locals, to those who had survived, to those who had helped rescue them, to those who had lived in Aberfan for decades and who never forget.

The Prince of Wales visited the Aberfan Memorial Garden which is dedicated to the 116 children and 28 adults who died on October 21st 1966 when a mountain of coal waste slid down a hill and engulfed Pantglas Primary School and nearby houses. The disaster happened at 9.15 and today a minute's silence was held at that exact time.

Prince Charles planted a tree in memory of those who died on that day, placing it in the soil of the Memorial Garden to grow in tribute to those gone. The prince also read a message from his mother, the Queen, in which she said she would be thinking of the people of Aberfan as would her family and the whole nation on this saddest of anniversaries. The Queen paid tribute to the people of Aberfan, saying she and Prince Philip have 'always been impressed by the remarkable fortitude, dignity and indomitable spirit that characterises the people of this village and the surrounding valleys.'

Prince Charles looked deeply moved as he delivered his mother's message and as he gave his own speech at a reception held in the village today where he told those present that 'Aberfan showed the world the darkest sorrow but also the most shining selflessness: a spirit which endured not just for the time of crisis, but for a lifetime.' This act of royal remembrance highlights why Aberfan will never be forgotten.

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