Today, Friday, 21 October 2016, marks the 50th anniversary since the tragedy in Aberfan where 116 children and 28 adults lost their lives. Four days after the landslide, the Queen and Prince Philip visited the community. Likewise, today, on this sad occasion, the Prince of Wales visited the community to pay tribute to those who lost their lives and those left still grieving.
His Royal Highness said: “Anyone who is old enough can remember where they were when they heard the appalling news about the Aberfan disaster.”
He continued saying how he felt after hearing the horrible news: “I can never forget the feeling of utter despair as I heard of the unspeakable tragedy that had befallen your community. No-one should have to bear the losses you suffered. But no-one could have borne those losses with greater strength or greater courage.”
Whilst there, the Prince planted a tree in the memorial garden and read a personal, and emotional message from Her Majesty to the people of Aberfan.
“As you come together as a community today to mark fifty years since the dreadful events of Friday 21st October 1966, I want you to know that you are in my own and my family’s thoughts, as well as the thoughts of the nation.”
The message continued, “We will all be thinking about the 144 people who died – most of them children between the ages of seven and ten – and the hundreds more who have lived with the shock and grief of that day, summed up by one poet who said simply, ‘All the elements of tragedy are here.’ ”
“I well remember my own visit with Prince Philip after the disaster, and the posy I was given by a young girl, which bore the heart-breaking inscription, ‘From the remaining children of Aberfan.’ ”
“Since then, we have returned on several occasions and have always been deeply impressed by the remarkable fortitude, dignity and indomitable spirit that characterises the people of this village and the surrounding valleys.”
“On this saddest of anniversaries, I send my renewed good wishes to you all.”