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Six Bells Disaster Memorial Service and Guardian Opening
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DavidLL



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Posts: 45


Location: Bachgen bach o Gwmtyleri, Erioed, Erioed

PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:26 pm    Post subject: Six Bells Disaster Memorial Service and Guardian Opening  Reply with quote

I'd just congratulate everyone involved in getting the new "Guardian" memorial funded and erected.

Well done Mair Sheen and her team and the Six Bells CF partnership and to Sebastien Boyesen, the artist. It looked awesome today and once the final touches (arms!) are done, it will be a very fitting memorial to those brave 45 men and other miners who have sadly died over the years.

The service was excellent, catching just the right mood: the choir sang really well (Gwahoddiad was just spine-tingling), the band were spot on, the contributions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rev Patrick Coleman and others just right and Jim Watkins spoke very very movingly.

Some images of the day up on main site on frontpage and at:

http://www.abertillery.net/sixbellsmemorial2010.html

http://www.abertillery.net/sixbellsmemorial2010_2.html

I also fervently hope and believe that the memorial will attract visitors into the Abertillery area and be a focus of the Ebbw Fach Trail. As a kid growing up in Cwmtillery (and having just watched The Otherside of the Underneath filmed in 1972 as a salutary reminder!), I remember the blackened hillsides and valley floors all too well. The community spirit was great and the jobs in the mines etc at the heart of the community. Today we have to aim to create a new future from the regreened valleys and mountains.

Again, hats off to all concerned.


Last edited by DavidLL on Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Rocke



Joined: 08 May 2008
Posts: 3279


Location: Abertillery

PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I realised today that there are a few types of tear.

As I write the tracks of tears are still on my face, and as I write this more are starting to follow.
The tears of sadness for all those lost and those that have grieved for them for 50 years have long since passed.
They've been washed away - nay, flooded out - by the sweeter tears of pride that I feel for Six Bells.

Because today Six Bells - a tiny village and community at the southern end of a place called Abertilllery, in that small country called Wales - sent a message to the world.
And in these times of the Internet, Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter believe me it was a message to the world.

It said 'Look how to deal with disaster with dignity'.
It said 'Look how to rise again through resilience'.
It said 'Now you realise what 'Hwyl' means and is'.

Six Bells has epitomised what we in The Valleys are about.
The Community of Six Bells - and all those who power it - has done us all proud.      

And you should feel so proud of yourselves.
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martyn142



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
Posts: 2364


Location: six bells, abertillery

PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed with both of you. Thanks very much for the photos Dai.
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Carolyn



Joined: 11 Mar 2006
Posts: 2546


Location: Abertillery

PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree armless he may well be but a truly arresting sight all the same. It was a very memorable day. Congratulations to all those involved.
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Dai 6



Joined: 28 Sep 2007
Posts: 210



PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everyone at Six Bells Cf and all their volunteers deserve a medal. A brilliant project from start to finish which would simply not have happened without their tireless efforts.  More than worthy of the highest official recognition from BGCBC (nudges Rocke) and the Welsh Assembly.
I canít praise them enough - da iawn.


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Rocke



Joined: 08 May 2008
Posts: 3279


Location: Abertillery

PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some things in life you cannot remember,
But might also be ones you cannot forget.
The blackest of all days, down at the pithead
So many people, by grief so beset.

June comes around with its timely reminder,
Acts of memorial shine like beacons of light.
Always remembered in our mind's eye
Though all have departed from physical sight.

2010 is a special occasion,
50 years on, this one bursts like a star
Thousands descend upon Six Bells pithead
They throng from all over, even lands so afar.

So different to then on a sombre June morning  
Anxiously waiting in hope for some news.
Now it's the site of dignified celebration
Surrounded by pleasant, green valley views.

A lasting memorial to all of the victims
And a tribute to hwyl. Our spirit - Respect !
For creating our Guardian and thereby ensuring
Eternal remembrance, let no-one forget.

-----------------------------------

Dedicated to the 45 men who lost their lives at Six Bells on 28th June 1960 and their families who bore such a loss. Also to the people of this area and particularly Six Bells who rallied around. Finally to Six Bells Communities First, Jim Watkins and all who played a part in creating an enduring memorial and tribute to them.      
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martyn142



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
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Location: six bells, abertillery

PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Rockey. Very moving.
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Jim Nicholas



Joined: 22 Jul 2006
Posts: 63


Location: Eastbourne

PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 10:40 pm    Post subject: Six Bells Commemorative Service Reply with quote

I can only echo what has been said above and thank those who created such a memorable day. Rita & I travelled from Eastbourne, my brother Don from Rugby, nephew Lynn from Cheltenham, niece Jean from Dulwich - all Abertillery exiles who could not stay away from the commemoration of the tragedy which affected so many families in our home town. We were all glad we were there.
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David



Joined: 15 Aug 2009
Posts: 213


Location: in front of my pc

PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone know why he was arms less on the day? Also why on a day like this it had to be turned into a fairground? Just an observation and not just mine.
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Rocke



Joined: 08 May 2008
Posts: 3279


Location: Abertillery

PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of comments:

* David - look at Jim's post and my words.
I'm not sure when you arrived but this was a dignified celebration.

** A celebration of those men's lives by those who still stand by them after 50 years.

** A celebration by those who came ( a long way after ), who have experienced the glow of pride in having done something to honour their forebears.

'Oscar' is armless because at an extremely late stage it was realised that the shoulders could not be guaranteed to take whatever stress could reasonably be placed upon them.
It will take a few weeks to put him into a state whereby the arms, once attached, won't compromise the whole work.

I think this might work to our ( Six Bells ) advantage.

At the moment 'he's ' a quirky character without arms.
When the time comes to complete him how many - having seen the 'unveiling' and listened to the Bishop's blessing of him - will come here to watch the completion ?
Six Bells hasn't just had its '15 minutes of fame', it will have a repeat.
And that can only be good for it, the community, and us in general.
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mrh35



Joined: 01 Mar 2007
Posts: 122


Location: Six Bells

PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here here rocky
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6 Bells Communities First



Joined: 17 Jun 2010
Posts: 75


Location: Six Bells, Blaenau Gwent

PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:37 am    Post subject: Six Bells Miners Memorial Commemoration Day Reply with quote

Hi David. Please refer to 'Angel of the Valleys' post for a very brief explanation of why the the memorial statue was not completed on time. We're very sorry that you felt that the day had been turned into a fairground, but the theme of the occasion was to remember our past ... and celebrate our future. We remembered our past with a 50th anniversary commemorative service of the 1960 disaster, together with the unveiling of an iconic, landmark memorial. We celebrated our future with events, aimed primarily at the younger generation who, by attending this historic occasion, would not forget the huge sacrifices made by our community or indeed our values.

We believe in our community and what it stands for, but we all have to move on.

Our deepest apologies if you, our anyone else, were in anyway offended by our efforts.
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Six Bells Communities First - doing things differently!

http://sixbellscommunitiesfirst.org
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6 Bells Communities First



Joined: 17 Jun 2010
Posts: 75


Location: Six Bells, Blaenau Gwent

PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:32 am    Post subject: Six Bells Miners Memorial Commemoration Day Reply with quote

Apologies for the late response to your posts - sometimes 18hrs sleep is not enough!

David, totally agree with your statement - we must use this achievement as a platform to move forward and further develop tourism throughout the Borough as a means to regenerate our community. Many thanks for your kind support.

Thank you Rocke, both for your efforts on the day, and also for the most beautiful, sensitive recollection of the day - yet more tears I'm afraid. †

Carolyn, Martyn and Dai, your support and that of others has been invaluable - it has proved that through unity, we can achieve anything.

Everyone has been absolutely brilliant - many thanks once more.
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Six Bells Communities First - doing things differently!

http://sixbellscommunitiesfirst.org
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David



Joined: 15 Aug 2009
Posts: 213


Location: in front of my pc

PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rocke
  I was at the service from the start. I would prefer not to call it a celebration. And i dont think a fairground dignifies the occasion. I was born in Six Bells and my father was underground at Six Bells at the time of the explosion. This was a harrowing time for all of the family until we found out that he was safe. We knew many of those brave souls who died so excuse me if i dont use the word celebration.
 And 6 Bells communities first i do appreciate your efforts and i did enjoy the service but i do think the fairground could have waited for another day.
 As for the technical issues that can mean anything. As i saw it the arms only needed bolting on. Surely they ironed out any problems with the trial erection.
 There if ive upset anyone please accept my apologies.
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Rocke



Joined: 08 May 2008
Posts: 3279


Location: Abertillery

PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No need for apologies at all David.

I was very wary of using the word but at a funeral last week - and it's becoming more and more prevalent at services now it seems - the Order of Service said ' a celebration for the life of......'.
That event was sombre and dignified, as all such services are.

It was in that context I used the word.

An interesting point about the later events which I've only just realised.
All through the day there was a constant trickle of people of all ages and families coming up to the memorial itself. There were no children playing, running around etc., no music, no loud talking. All were clearly aware of the need for dignity and all - well everyone I talked to or heard - primarily paid their respects to those men and their families, and only after that did they comment upon or ask about the Guardian itself.

One of my most vivid memories is a couple of young people, about 16 and looking like boyfriend and girlfriend. They went up, went around and read everything, including some of the tributes made and laid. When they made their way down it was clear that it had had an impact on them.

I've no doubt that all those who came down went to the Guardian first and then on to the events area.
Heritage first and foremost, which is not only fitting but of course the way CF saw it - remembering our past and celebrating the ( much brighter ) future.

Lastly, please accept my apologies if I've caused upset in any way.


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