Wales

Big Pit: Blaenavon concert remembers mining dead

A memorial concert has been held at Big Pit mining museum in south Wales to remember the victims of colliery accidents.

The Blaenavon concert was two days before the first anniversary of the Swansea Valley Gleision disaster which killed four miners.

Mining in Wales has cost thousands of lives over the decades.

It was their contribution that was celebrated in poetry and song at Big Pit on Thursday.

A piano was lowered into the mine to accompany the performers as they sang underground.

One of them was Dan Curtis, whose great-grandfather was killed in the Senghenydd mining disaster, near Caerphilly, on 4 October 1913, when 439 miners died.

Mr Curtis was joined by writer, actor and musician Boyd Clack.

Image caption The four men died when the mine flooded on 15 September last year

Former miners formed part of the underground audience, who included First Minister Carwyn Jones.

Of the memorial concert, Mr Jones said: "It was an opportunity, not just to remember those who've been killed underground and those who've suffered hardship through the mining industry, but also to remember the culture that mining communities inspired, the way of life and the mark that mining communities continue to make on Welsh life."

David Powell, 50, Charles Breslin, 62, Philip Hill, 44, and Garry Jenkins, 39, were the latest Welsh miners to lose their lives underground when they died at Gleision Colliery almost exactly a year ago.

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.

More than £1m has been raised through a public appeal, which will be shared between the families of the four men.

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