Gleision mine deaths: Widows speak publicly of tragedy

The widows of two miners who died at the Gleision colliery have been speaking about their loss and thanking the community for their support

Related Stories

The widows of two men who lost their lives in the Gleision mining tragedy have spoken publicly for the first time about how their lives have been turned upside down.

The families of David Powell, 50, and Charles Breslin, 62, were at Ffos Las racecourse, Carmarthenshire, to accept a £75,000 appeal cheque.

Mavis Breslin said the response to the appeal had been "overwhelming".

Philip Hill, 44, and Garry Jenkins, 39, also died on 15 September.

Start Quote

You're just in this bubble and you still are to this day”

End Quote Lynette Powell David Powell's widow

Three other men escaped when the Gleision drift mine, near Pontardawe, flooded after a retaining wall holding back a body of water failed.

The Swansea Valley Miners' Appeal Fund was set up within days of the disaster and has attracted donations from around the world, raising nearly £700,000.

The £75,000 was raised by visitors, trainers, horse owners and others associated with the course after two days of racing earlier this month.

It is the biggest single donation to an appeal fund to help the families.


Mavis Breslin, widow of Charles Breslin, said it was an "amazing amount" and the response to the appeal had been "overwhelming".

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

"It has been really comforting to know that people are supporting us," she added.

"It has been heart-warming."

Lynette Powell, who lost her husband David, said: "You're still in this bubble and you still don't come down to earth to realise it, to appreciate it.

"And thank you is not such a word anymore, because everybody's been fabulous, absolutely fabulous."

She added: "Because of the tragedy you don't think about the future.

"When our husbands're just in this bubble and you still are to this day."

Start Quote

We've received flowers from various places...New Zealand, Chile, everywhere”

End Quote Leanne Walters Sister of Garry Jenkins

She added that she had not had "time to grieve yet, because everybody out there is so, absolutely tremendous, for what they're doing, and they're still doing it to this day."

She added: "You still can't get to terms with it yet."

Mrs Powell described the appeal fund's patron Prince Charles - who visited mine rescuers last week - as "fabulous".

Garry Jenkins' sister, Leanne Walters, said: "It's unbelievable what we've had. We've received flowers from various places...New Zealand, Chile, everywhere."

Ffos Las general manager, Tim Long, said: "Our visitors were hugely generous in their donations.

"It was very pleasing to welcome the families of the miners and patrons of the Swansea Valley Miners' Appeal Fund for the formal presentation."

Racecourse chairman Dai Walters said: "I am absolutely delighted that our sponsors and supporters have been so generous and made such a major contribution to boosting the appeal fund."

Appeal organisers have said the fund has become so big they have taken specialist accountancy and tax advice.

More on This Story

Related Stories

From other news sites

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC South West Wales



Min. Night 3 °C

Features & Analysis

  • Signposts showing the US and UK flagsAn ocean apart

    How British misunderstanding of the US is growing

  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?

  • Hillary Clinton frowns.Something to hide?

    Hillary's private emails threaten her air of inevitability

  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back

Elsewhere on the BBC


  • Former al-Qaeda double agent Aimen DeanHARDtalk Watch

    Islamic State is about revenge says former al-Qaeda member turned spy Aimen Dean

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.