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Friday, 19 October, 2001, 06:04 GMT 07:04 UK
CCTV demand for Aberfan memorial
Aberfan scene
The coal slide disaster in the village claimed 144 lives
Relatives of villagers killed in the Aberfan colliery disaster have called for surveillance for a memorial garden ahead which they say has been vandalised.

The call comes ahead of the 35th anniversary of the tragedy, in which 144 lives were lost when a coal tip collapsed onto the south Wales community, happened on 21 October, 1966.

On Sunday, villagers will mark the date with a visit to the garden, built on the site of Pantglas Junior School, which was buried by a slurry of coal and earth.

The landslide destroyed the village school
The landslide destroyed the village school
They want CCTV monitoring at the memorial, where vandals have ripped stones from walls and damaged flowers.

South Wales Police are also increasing patrols in the village in a bid to discourage youngsters late-night drinking in the garden.

The divisional commander is sending a personal letter to every househould appealing for people to give the garden the respect it deserves.

Community devastated

Cliff Minnett lost two children in the disaster and said: "Every time I come here, I remember the day - it doesn't go away."

He appealed to the vandals: "Go somewhere else to play. If you want to do wilful damage, go anywhere else, but don't do it here."

Cliff Mynott
Cliff Minnett appealed to the vandals
The Aberfan community, near Merthyr Tydfil, was devastated by the freak incident on a sunny Friday morning in 1966.

At 0915hrs, a waste tip slid down the mountainside toward the village destroying a farm in its path and killing the occupants.

Children at Pantglas Junior School had just returned from singing hymns at their morning assembly.

But the slide engulfed the building, killing 116 children and five of their teachers.

The slurry also engulfed 20 houses before coming to a halt.

Cliff Minnett, memorial garden committee
"Every time I come to this garden, it reminds me of that day"
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