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Friday, 9 November, 2001, 17:59 GMT
'Gentle giant' was tragedy's first victim
Stephen Galsworthy, victim of the Corus Port Talbot steelworks tragedy
Stephen Galsworthy won an international schoolboy's cap
One of the victims of the explosion at the Corus steelworks in Port Talbot has been described as a "gentle giant".

Twenty-six-year-old Stephen Galsworthy from Baglan Moors, Port Talbot was a keen footballer having won an international cap for Wales at schoolboy level.

He used to play football for Afan Lido Football Club and was still a keen supporter althought he had stopped playing.

"We called him the gentle giant because he was six foot-odd tall and a lovely lad," said club secretary Phil Robinson.

Home of steelworks' victim Stephen Galsworthy
The house where Mr Galsworthy lived with his girlfriend

He was the first of two steelworkers who police have confirmed died in Thursday's explosion at blast furnace number five at the works.

The body of a missing worker - 20- year-old Andrew Hutin was found on Friday.

The production worker had stood in at the last minute on Thursday's late shift because a colleague was injured in a road accident.

Andrew, who gained schoolboy caps for Wales at Under 15 level and signed on for top club Aberavon before moving to Aberavon Quins, lived at home with his parents and sisters just minutes from the plant.

Thirteen other steelworkers are still being treated in hospital.

"Stephen was very popular with the club and his team mates and a frequent visitor to the club," said Mr Robinson.

"He was a jovial lad who enjoyed himself and was fun to be with."

He said Mr Galsworthy, who earned an international cap playing for the Welsh Boys Club against Scotland when he was 18, lived with his long-term girlfriend.

"The club's just devastated. We cannot get to grips with it," he added.

Neighbour David Lloys of steelworks explosion victim Stephen Galsworthy
Neighbour David Lloyd is shocked by the tragedy

"There's a lot of family connections because Stephen's nephew plays for us and his brother used to and Stephen was a frequent visitor to the club.

Afan Lido have postponed Saturday's League of Wales away match against Wrexham team Flexsys Cefn Druids because members are so upset.

Friday's game between Port Talbot Town and Cwmbran Town has also been postponed as a mark of respect to the relatives of those killed or injured in the blast.

The tight-knit South Wales community of Port Talbot is attempting to come to terms with its shock and distress.

The full force of the tragedy hit David Lloyd, of Aberavon, on Friday when he learned that his friend and neighbour, Stephen Galsworthy, had been killed.

"Steve was a great bloke, no doubt about it. It's just terrible," he said.

Mr Lloyd had known the steelworker and his girlfriend since they moved to the area two years ago.
Port Talbot High Street
Shoppers in Port Talbot High Street

"He worked shifts at the plant, so our paths didn't cross every day.

"But we would always say hello, and exchanged Christmas cards.

"He always came across as a really nice chap."

Mr Lloyd has also worked as a sub-contractor in the Corus plant.

"They are a close community in the steel works, but it will be very dour up there today." he said.

Pupils at the nearby Glan Afan Comprehensive School, many with relatives working at the plant, held two minutes silence in assembly on Friday morning

The school had been taking part in a Remembrance service for Armistice Day on Friday, but pupils also sang hymns and said prayers for the steelworkers, their colleagues and their families.

Meanwhile, shoppers on Port Talbot High Street passed under the Christmas garlands decorating the town.

However, seasonal cheer was a long way from the hearts of many families in Port Talbot.

"They will have a lot to deal with before Christmas comes," said one elderly passerby.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales's Carwyn Jones
"In Port Talbot High Street shoppers are tring to come to terms with the loss""
See also:

09 Nov 01 | Wales
Furnace explosion victim named
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