Gleision mine tragedy: £1m to be split between families

Trustees met on Monday to wind up the fund, which was launched after the disaster in September last year

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More than £1m raised through a public appeal will be shared between the families of the four men killed in the Gleision mining disaster in south Wales almost a year ago.

David Powell, 50, Charles Breslin, 62, Philip Hill, 44, and Garry Jenkins, 39, lost their lives in the Swansea Valley mine on 15 September 2011.

Four trust funds have been set up for the four children who are under 18.

The rest will go to those closest to the men.

Widows Mavis Breslyn and Lynette Powell will receive money.

Mr Jenkins and Mr Hill were divorced, so Mr Jenkins's partner, who he was living with, and Mr Hill's 21-year-old daughter, who was dependent on her father, will also receive money.

The men's former wives will not receive money, but if they have children under 18, they will be trustees.

'Extremely difficult'

Wayne Thomas, chairman of Swansea Valley miners' appeal fund, said the £1.091m raised was phenomenal, and it was challenging to divide the money up.

Start Quote

The response from the community has been moving”

End Quote Peter Hain Neath MP

He added: "It was extremely difficult because of the varying needs of the families, the varying relationships of the families.

"We've looked at the legal implications, the moral implications, we've had advice from social workers and solicitors etc etc.

"We've learnt from other fatalities and serious accidents where the parent is no longer with us or indeed no longer working.

"So we have secured a trust fund for each of the four children under the age of 18 to make sure whatever happens in the family circumstances around them, they will be looked after until they become 21 years of age.

"There will be three trustees on each of the four trust funds and in each of those three trustees, one will be the parent of the child."

Trustees who will officially wind up the fund on Monday say that of £1.091m raised, just £529 was spent on administration.

Flooding

About £100,000 has already been spent on funeral and other urgent expenses, which could not wait until the official calculations were complete.

The four miners who died: Charles Breslin, Phillip Hill (top) and Garry Jenkins and David Powell (bottom, left to right) The four men died when the mine flooded on 15 September last year

It is hoped that all the relatives will receive their share before the 15 September anniversary.

Their bodies were recovered from the mine 24 hours later after initial hope that rescue teams might be able to find them alive.

Post-mortem examinations confirmed all four men died as a result of flooding in the pit.

Neath MP Peter Hain, who helped launch the fund, said: "When we first set it up, the thought it could raise £1,091,000 would have just never occurred to anybody.

"The response from the community has been moving. It shows that there's still a spirit of care and support out there in what many people denounce as a me first society.

"This whole experience shows the decency that still is there."

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