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'NO WORDS WILL TAKE AWAY THE PAIN RIGHT NOW' Gleision mining tragedy families find comfort in letters of support from across the globe.

Byline: ROBIN TURNER Reporter

LETTERS of support from around the world brought solace to the families of the Gleision mining tragedy in the dark days after their loved ones deaths.

Today, Wales on Sunday is able to publish excerpts of some of those letters which came from as far aeld as the families of miners killed in the Pike River mining disaster in New Zealand.

e messages came from around the world along with donations to the Swansea Valley Miners Appeal Fund in the days and months after the Gleision Colliery tragedy in which four miners died.

e fund eventually raised just over PS1m by the time it was closed a year after the 2011 tragedy.

After pit owners MNS Mining Ltd and mine manager Malcolm Fyeld were cleared of manslaughter charges related to the men's death at Swansea Crown Court on Friday, Wales on Sunday has decided to publish a small number of the vast amount of letters sent to Neath MP Peter Hain's oce where the fund was initally administrated.

On November 19, 2010, a total of 29 people died in a methane explo sion in the Pike River coal mine near Greymouth, New Zealand.

Bernard Monk, spokesman for the Pike River Families, sent a donation on behalf of them saying in the covering letter: "To the Hill, Jenkins, Powell and Breslin Families.

"On behalf of the families of the Pike River mining disaster (November 19, 2010, Greymouth, New Zealand) we would like to extend our deepest sympathies to all of the families that were aected by this recent tragedy.

'NO WORDS WILL TAKE AWAY THE pain that you will be feeling right now but to let you know that you have been in our hearts and we stand beside you during this trying time. You will remain in our prayers for the long journey to come."

Pat Crossan, Social Convenor of " the Fauldhouse Miners Welfare Society in West Lothian, Scotland, wrote: "Fauldhouse Miners' Welfare held a fundraiser for the Swansea Valley. Appeal Fund.

"Since the time we had arranged this another miner was killed, in Yorkshire. Mr (Gerry) Gibson was originally from a village three miles from Fauldhouse so we were wondering if the money we made could be split ve ways, four for the Welsh miner. s and one for the Yorkshire "miner.

"We raised a total of PS1,250 so Please see enclosed cheque."

Patricia Bedale, of Highgate, Lon" don, wrote to the Lord Mayor of Swansea who passed the letter on to Mr Hain's oce.

She wrote: "I would be grateful if you could put this cheque towards the fund for helping the relatives of the recent pit disaster in the Swansea Valley.

"I am a pensioner but I'd like to make a contribution.

"As a child I was sent to South Wales to escape Hitler's bombs then raining down on London.

"My mother's relatives were all in steel but there were coal miners all around especially in Blaenavon which took a number of evacuees from Haringay. I hope you will pardon my approaching you as I have not been able to nd out who is organising the fund."

Pam Wilson, of Ramsey Isle of " Man, wrote: "Please accept the enclosed donation for the families of the miners so tragically taken from them. My heart goes out to them, they and the rescue workers who worked so hard to save them. May God bless and support them all."

'e Jennings family (Lesley, Kevin " and Trevor) from Bognor Regis wrote: "On behalf of my family we would like to send our deepest, sin cere condolences to the four loved ones who lost their lives in the tragedy that occurred in Wales in the mining industry.

"We are truly sorry for all the families for their loss. Our hearts go out to each and every one of them.

"Please accept our cheque. It is only a small donation but we hope it will help in a small way. We arer thinking about all of your families at this very sad time.

"We also hope everyone can help and will help you all, in all of your needs. I am sure they will.

"We have spent many a happy holiday in Wales. We love your people and your community which makes us feel at home.

"We hope you manage to raise a lot more money to help all of the families who have lost their loved ones and need all the love and sup port they can get and will get all the help and support from your community in Wales."

MINERS' FAMILY LAUNCH CIVIL COURT CLAIM THE families of the four miners killed in the Swansea Valley Gleision Colliery tragedy are making claims for compensation against mine owners MNS Mining Ltd.

Ex-pit manager Malcolm Fyeld, 58, of Cwmllynfell, and owners MNS Mining Ltd were cleared of causing the death of colliers Garry Jenkins, David Powell, Philip Hill and Charles Breslin when the 100-year-old pit ooded after blasting operations on September 15, 2011.

But Thompsons Solicitors, now representing the men's families in compensation claims against MNS mining, said the families were now making a claim.

Anthony Welsh, the solicitor representing the Gleision families, said: "Getting a conviction on a charge of corporate manslaughter is very di"cult as the prosecution has to prove the manager's actions amounted to gross negligence, which is a hugely di"cult legal burden.

"This trial re-ignites the call for the law to be made simpler and for " owners and directors to be held more accountable.

"Thompsons also echoes the thoughts of Neath MP Peter Hain who has said the families of the deceased 'still need answers' and are calling on the HSE to release the full report of its investigation into what happened at Gleision to the public."

A day after his acquittal, Malcolm "Fyeld's legal team said yesterday: "Mr Fyeld would like to express his gratitude to the jury for Thursday's verdict at Swansea Crown Court.

"Mr Fyeld would like to thank his family and friends for their unwavering support through the last two years and nine months.

"The most important issue is the memory of his four colleagues who " lost their lives in the tragic accident."

The prosecution alleged the " water which engulfed the mine had been there for decades.

But Mr Fyeld insisted all along he inspected behind the blast area nding it dry and geologist Dr Alan Cobb said it was "probable" water collected after Mr Fyeld's inspection.


Garry Jenkins, 39

Phillip Hill, 45

David Powell, 50

Charles Breslin, 62

A rescue worker at Gleision Colliery at the time of the tragedy
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 22, 2014
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