Aberfan

Aberfan: A Book of Memorial Verse Written by Children edited by Marjorie Chadwick Harris (Arthur H.Stockwell Ltd, 1966)

Introduced by Anne Brichto of Addyman Books, Hay-on-Wye

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The Bookseller’s Breakfast is meant to be cheerful but today we are sad. Fifty years ago, also on a Friday morning, October 21st, 1966, there happened in Aberfan, South Wales, a tragedy so terrible that the whole country was stunned. Tip Seven, slipped from its bed, bringing destruction and death to everything that lay in its downward path including Pantglas Junior School. Within minutes, 144 people were killed, 116 of these children and 104 of these ten years old or younger. The pain this caused the small community can hardly be comprehended.

I was nearly four when it happened and it was one of the first pieces of news I remembered hearing. I didn’t truly understand but I saw the sadness all around and thought about what would happen if my pre-school class got buried.

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This book of poems is a collection written by school children in response to the tragedy. Many were composed on the weekend that followed. It was edited and published by Marjorie Chadwick Harris and seems the most appropriate book for today. All those children were my age or slightly older. All those lives un-lived.

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