Memorial for Gleision miners unveiled
A memorial for the lost Gleision miners has been unveiled in the Swansea Valley.
David Powell, aged 50, Charles Breslin, aged 62, Philip Hill, aged 44, and Garry Jenkins, aged 39, lost their lives when water flooded the small drift mine, near Pontardawe in the Swansea Valley, on September 15, 2011. To mark the loss, Ystalyfera Community Council unveiled a permanent memorial yesterday in a brief ceremony.
The stone was donated by Cwmnantlleici Quarry, in Ynysmeudwy, and has been placed on the site of old Tareni Colliery — itself the scene of a disaster in 1909 — next to a cycle track that runs along the valley’s floor.
Mavis Breslin, who lost her husband Charles in the disaster said she still felt the loss every day. She added: “I would think that Charles would have been very proud of this and it’s nice to see a permanent memorial because there hasn’t really been one until now.
“I’m very grateful to the local councillors and all those who have worked to get it here.”
Of the turnout — more than100 people braved the pouring rain — she said: “I was surprised to see how many people turned up given the weather but it just goes to show how well thought of the four of them were.”
And she is more than pleased with the position of the memorial.
She said: “I’ve visited this site many times before at Christmas, anniversaries and on his birthday. It’s where I come to remember him and the other miners on special occasions.”
Lynette Powell, wife of David Powell, added: “It’s just like it happened yesterday. We all talk about it like it was yesterday. We live day by day.”
Of the memorial she said: “I’m overwhelmed and so happy, they will never be forgotten.
“His best mate Mark Lloyd placed a temporary memorial here soon after it happened, although the grave is up on the hillside opposite, we come down here to remember him. I’m really surprised by how many people turned up today, he was very popular.”
David Powell’s brother-in-law Kelvin Davies said: “David lived just up the road and he would have walked past here on his way to the mine. I have to be honest, they have picked a lovely spot for the memorial, there are a lot of people who walk and cycle past here.”
A look back at a news report from the time of the tragedy: