South East Wales

Cambrian mining disaster remembered 50 years on at service

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Media captionThe explosion at the colliery claimed 31 lives in 1965

A service to mark the 50th anniversary of the Cambrian mining disaster has taken place in Clydach Vale.

Speakers, a prayer of remembrance, and a tolling of bells all remembered the tragedy that claimed 31 lives in 1965.

The colliery explosion was caused by firedamp after poor ventilation allowed a build-up of the flammable gas.

First Minister Carwyn Jones and Rhondda Cynon Taff mayor John Watts were among those attending the service at Cambrian Memorial Park.

Image caption The explosion at the Cambrian Colliery claimed the lives of 31 miners in 1965

Other guests included John Benbow, 83, who was a Cambrian Colliery underground mechanical fitter, underground worker Alwyn Davies, 87, and canteen assistant Betty Thomas, 87.

The open-air service was opened by Father Haydn England-Simon, followed by an address by the mayor.

Image caption Miners at the scene following the explosion

A 33-bell toll remembered not only the 1965 disaster but others, including the 1905 explosion at the same colliery, the surface explosion of 1900, and incidents at Ffynnon Dwyn and Blaenclydach collieries.

A minute's silence took place at 13:00 BST - the same time the explosion happened in 1965.

Image caption People gather to pay their respects at the memorial service in Clydach Vale
Image caption Miners and others wait for news following the explosion

The service also saw a laying of wreaths for victims, an address by the first minister, a roll call of those killed, and music by soprano Lucy Rees and the Cambrian Male Choir.

At the same time, at the National Mining Memorial in Senghenydd, a floral tribute has been placed at the Cambrian tablet.

Image caption Miners and local join the funeral procession for those killed at the colliery in 1965

A minute's silence was been observed as the Senghenydd Colliery Memorial Society and Senghenydd residents remembered the victims.

The service was organised by Cwm Clydach Community Development Trust and supported by Rhondda Cynon Taff Council.

Image caption The procession continues through the town
Image caption Cars carry the dead to the funeral in Rhondda Cynon Taff

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