Memorial fund for miners raises £200,000

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The Independent Online

A fund launched to help the grieving families of four miners killed in the Gleision Colliery disaster has raised £200,000, Peter Hain revealed today.

Phillip Hill, 45, Garry Jenkins, 39, David Powell, 50, and Charles Breslin, 62, died when water engulfed the pit at Cilybebyll, near Pontardawe, in South Wales.

Their deaths devastated the small community and well-wishers were urged to support the men's relatives by giving cash to a memorial fund.

Speaking to delegates at Labour's annual conference in Liverpool, the shadow Welsh secretary said donations had topped all expectations.

Praising all those who contributed "so magnificently" to the fund, he told activists: "Incredibly, we will be able to give over £200,000 to the families."

Mr Hain went on to claim the response to the "terrible tragedy" demonstrated Labour's founding principles in the Welsh heartlands.

He said: "The heart-warming response of so many has reminded us of our values, values which, over the generations, have triumphed over trauma and hardship.

"Values of solidarity, caring, mutual aid and mutual co-operation.

"The Labour Party stands today, as we always have done, in the best spirit and proud tradition of miners and their families and their communities to fight and win again for justice and equality for all."

Mr Hain was speaking as he introduced Wales's First Minister Carwyn Jones, Labour's most powerful politician in the UK.

Mr Jones told the conference the accident sparked "a sense of community witnessed by the world".

He added: "We must build on that sense of community."