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BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition

Related threads:
Lyr/Tune Req: Song about Aberfan by George Holden (8)
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Aberfan disaster 40th anniversary - 21 Oct 1966 (32)
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Folkien 18 Oct 04 - 08:46 AM
GUEST,Jon 18 Oct 04 - 01:10 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 18 Oct 04 - 01:22 PM
Jeanie 18 Oct 04 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,curious 18 Oct 04 - 01:58 PM
Scooby Doo 19 Oct 04 - 04:35 AM
Gervase 19 Oct 04 - 04:52 AM
Dave Hanson 19 Oct 04 - 04:55 AM
Cats at Work 19 Oct 04 - 05:42 AM
BanjoRay 19 Oct 04 - 06:36 AM
GUEST,Jon 19 Oct 04 - 06:51 AM
Jeanie 19 Oct 04 - 07:21 AM
Jeanie 19 Oct 04 - 08:33 AM
GUEST,curious 19 Oct 04 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,Jon 19 Oct 04 - 12:28 PM
Pied Piper 19 Oct 04 - 03:05 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 19 Oct 04 - 08:43 PM
Folkien 20 Oct 04 - 09:55 AM
Jeanie 20 Oct 04 - 10:09 AM

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Subject: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: Folkien
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 08:46 AM

The Merthyr Housing Association plan to destroy the Aberfan Memorial Playground to build a new housing development. If you think that this playground should be left as a permanent reminder of the memory of the 116 children and 28 adults who died on the 21st October 1966, when a coal slag heap collapsed onto the local primary school, please take a moment to sign this petition


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 01:10 PM

Have done.


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 01:22 PM

Having gone to Aberfan in the aftermath, and been there a couple of times when I worked for the National Coal Board, I vividly recall this colossal tragedy. I'm not sure about the value of memorials several generations down the line, but on the face of it this decision has come heartlessly early, even while immediate family members are still alive. Presumably SOME form of meaningful memorial will be retained?


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: Jeanie
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 01:22 PM

Folkien, thanks for drawing people's attention to this.

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: GUEST,curious
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 01:58 PM

Why are they saying that the playground should be 'restored to it's former glory'?
Has it been neglected recently? And who's responsibility is it to maintain it?
Does seem callous to build on it due to the recentness of the tragedy, but would like to know the above if at all possible.


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: Scooby Doo
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 04:35 AM

I live about 20 miles from Aberfan and its a disgrace what the housing association wants to do with the land.I signed the petition.
Scooby


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: Gervase
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 04:52 AM

Hear hear - it seems pretty hasty and heartless. For me Aberfan is one of those "where were you when Kennedy was shot...?" events. I was the same age as many of the kids there, and I'm not ready to demolish that memory, so the memorial should stay as a permanent reminder of the price the community paid. Maybe when the disaster has passed into folk memory, when the pit heaps are no longer recognisable as pit heaps and when turf, moss and heather have cloaked all the scars on the landscape - but until then we could do with having a memorial.


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 04:55 AM

Done.

I'm still angry that the NCB refused to accept responsibility for this disaster which they manufactured.

eric


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: Cats at Work
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 05:42 AM

Both Jon and I have signed and will make sure loads of people know of this. It cannot be allowed to happen. Just because it wasn't their children....


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: BanjoRay
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 06:36 AM

Eric - the NCB did accept responsibility. I was employed (with others) as a scientist after the disaster to work on projects leading to increased tip safety. Many new rules were created for the safe construction of tips, the tips then in existence were all surveyed and assessed and and the dodgy ones were all regraded and rendered safe. It's just a pity the NCB didn't do it in 1947 at nationalization - but some of the tips had been there for a century or so, and no one thought anything about it. I believe the tip that collapsed had been there since well before the existence of the NCB.
I've signed the petition.
Ray


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 06:51 AM

BanjoRay, I believe the NCB only accepted responsibility after a tribunal and that it is untrue to suggest "and no one thought anything about it". There was concern and warning about a disaster there. See here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: Jeanie
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 07:21 AM

For Guest, Curious: I came across this BBC News Report of 2001, describing the vandalism taking place on the memorial site, with residents calling for CCTV cameras to monitor it. This may well be what the comment "restoring it to its former glory" is referring to.

Like you, Gervase, the Aberfan disaster is a landmark event in my memory, too. We had a power cut at home, and I remember sitting in candlelight listening to reports of the rescue on the radio, and the shock of thinking of all those children so suddenly engulfed, children only a few years younger than I was. My cousin was working for the police in Merthyr at the time, and was involved in the digging out operations.

Certainly there needs to be a lasting and purposeful memorial for those lost lives. The memorial is, I understand, on the site of the school that was engulfed. If building *has* to go on around it, then surely the profits made from the housebuilding can be used to keep that area set apart for children and young people: a restored playground AND a staffed drop-in centre for the youngsters who had been vandalising the site.

For anyone who wants to find out more about what happened on 21st October 1966, here is information and archive material Aberfan Disaster

Once again, Folkien, thanks again for drawing attention to this petition.

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: Jeanie
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 08:33 AM

I've spent my lunchtime doing a bit more reading round. The site in question isn't the vandalized memorial garden on the site of the old school mentioned in the BBC news report. It's *another* vandalized site in neighbouring Merthyr Vale: a memorial playground built from donations by people of the city of Coventry. This Statement by Merthyr Council outlines their proposals and says the plans are "open to consultation" with an email address to contact them. They do say that they plan to retain "a small play area" on the site.

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: GUEST,curious
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 11:52 AM

Thanks Jeanie for the leg work. So the site up for redevelopement ISN'T where the tragedy occurred? They still have their memorial, albeit also vandalized.

Having read your link I think the area being proposed for the regeneration does sound ripe for regeneration.
The locals are the ones being hassled and the proposals will benefit the generation that were kids when the tragedy occurred. And still include a lasting memorial. Glad I never signed the petition now. The wording on the original link did ring alarm bells.


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 12:28 PM

Jeanie, thanks for your research. I wish I'd have looked into things more carefully as I'm not so sure I would have signed the petition...


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: Pied Piper
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 03:05 PM

"Close the coal house door lad ther's Bairns inside"


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 08:43 PM

For anyone who worked for the NCB in the years following the catastrophe, the words "bungling ineptitude" were burnt into the psyche. The chairman at that time, Lord Robens (at one time a minister in a Labour government, but appointed to the NCB job by a Tory government) put in his resignation. And by all accounts, he expected to go. Theoretically, and in accordance with British custom and practice of the time (but noticeably abandoned in recent years) he had ultimate reponsibility for Aberfan.

But the unions all protested; the government made clear that Robens retained their confidence; the Tories (by then in opposition) supported him and his resignation was rejected.

Thanks Jeanie for the additional info. I would have been surprised if the account at the top of the thread had been the full story, but I must admit I've not followed up any of the various links provided.


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: Folkien
Date: 20 Oct 04 - 09:55 AM

Sorry for the confusion folks, and thanks Jeanie for doing the detective work. I received the petition link from a friend who received the link from a friend etc, etc, and we were led to believe it was the official memorial site. It pays to get ones facts right doesn't it? Sorry once again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition
From: Jeanie
Date: 20 Oct 04 - 10:09 AM

I don't think you have any need to apologize, Folkien. Even though it turns out not to be the official memorial site (i.e. the site of the old Aberfan school), it is still a site created through donations (from the people of Coventry) for a specific purpose, in memory of the lives lost. I think it's a good thing for Merthyr Council to know the strength of feeling, and they can be left in no doubt that their decision to retain a play area on part of the land is the right one.

- jeanie


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