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National mining memorial to be unveiled today

Published in News on Monday October 14th, 2013. Last updated at 08:10

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A model of the statue that will be placed at the National Mining Memorial at Senghenydd

A model of the statue that will be placed at the National Mining Memorial at Senghenydd

At around 8.10am on October 14, 1913, a huge explosion ripped through Senghenydd’s Universal Colliery.

The UK’s worst mining disaster took the lives of 439 men and boys working underground plus the life of a rescuer.

The Wales National Mining Memorial will be unveiled on Monday October 14, 100 years since the tragedy, and will commemorate the lives lost in 1913 and other Welsh mining disasters through the years.

The memorial will consist of a garden, designed by Stephanie Wilkins, a wall of 521 tile naming each victim of the 1913 and 1901 Senghenydd disasters and a bronze statue depicting a miner and a rescuer. The tiles and statue have been created by artist Ned Haywood and sculptor Les Johnson respectively.

A dedication service will be held at 11.30am in a newly instated landscaped Memorial Garden.

In the evening, bell-ringers at St Martin’s Church in Caerphilly town will attempt to ring the church’s eight bells in a way normally reserved for Remembrance Sunday.

The ringers will attempt to ring a peal of all 5,040 possible combinations of all of the church’s bells.

The evening tributes, beginning at 5.45pm, will see a ‘promenade performance’ by Striking Attitudes Dance Company followed by a children and adult lantern parade from adjacent to Nant-y-Parc Primary School to the new Memorial garden. The evening tributes will come to a close with a short service.

Jack Humphreys, Chairman of the Aber Valley Heritage Group, said: “It has been a hundred years since the disaster at the Universal Colliery, but the impact that the explosion had on this small mining community is still felt today.

“We hope the event planned for Monday October 14 is a fitting tribute to the victims of the explosions in Senghenydd and mining disasters across Wales.”

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  • Jean-Jacques Monnier

    Wales-Britanny: More things to share

    Since we twinned with Caerphilly, then with Llanbradach, we have shared many events, good or bad. At the very beginning and later on, the Aber Valley Male voice Choir came and sang here, in front of 900 people, many other standing outside the concert hall. Our friendship has increased, over the years.

    As early as 1984, we have welcomed representatives of miners on strike.

    We were just loosing two factories (electronics). The people of Lannion tried to stand by the miners in their hour of greatest need, collecting clothes and money to sustain them during the year long strike.

    So, there is a strong bond between Lannion and the miners of Bedwas, Caerphilly, Llanbradach and Senghenydd.

    In our common exhibition "GLANCES AT BRITTANY AND WALES 1850-1950", two panels would remind us of Senghenyd Tragedy. This exhibition is still displayed in several towns every year.

    Next monday, Lannion town council will commemorate the tragical event of 1913 as your memorial will be unveiled.Our thoughts will be in Wales next monday.

    Jean-Jacques Monnier

    town councillor and member of the board of our local twinning committee in Lannion