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pounds 2m so we don't forget Aberfan.

Byline: By Phillip Nifield and Jackie Bow South Wales Echo

The future of the Aberfan disaster memorial was today secured with pounds 2m of funding.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan made the announcement at the memorial gardens in the Valleys town this morning.

The news was a victory for survivors of the 1966 disaster who had complained they were being forced to apply for lottery funding for the upkeep of the gardens.

Mr Morgan said pounds 1.5m would go to the Aberfan Memorial Charity to maintain the memorials to the 116 children and 28 adults who died. Assembly'sfunding for Aberfan: The long-term upkeep of the Aberfan memorial gardens and cemetery has been secured after Rhodri Morgan today announced pounds 2m worth of funding.

The First Minister was in the village to make the major announcement on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government.

A total of pounds 1.5m will go to the Aberfan Memorial Charity to help maintain the memorials to the 116 child and 28 adult victims of the 1966 tip slide and it comes just three months after the 40th anniversary of the disaster.

And another pounds 500,000 from WAG will go to the Aberfan Education Trust to provide grants for local schools for a range of projects, covering areas such as music and play.

WAG said that the money to the memorial charity would boost its bank funds from pounds 300,000 to pounds 1.8m, generating an estimated pounds 100,000 a year to maintain the memorials in the future. This compares to its current less than pounds 15,000-a-year income.

First Minister and Cardiff West Rhodri Morgan, who travelled to the Moy Road memorial gardens to make the announcement, said: 'The grants I am announcing will put both charities on a sound financial footing for a first time.

'The money will be used to ensure that the cemetery and memorial gardens are maintained for future generations.

'While the Aberfan Education Trust will receive pounds 500,000 to provide grants for local schools for a range of projects in areas such as music and play.'

Welcoming the news, Aberfan survivor and former Merthyr Tydfil Mayor, Councillor Jeff Edwards said: 'I know following the 40th anniversary representations were made the Welsh Assembly Government and it is nice to see they have listened to the requests of the people here.

'The education package is very important because the memory of what happened will be kept in the public eye.

'It is a very important message that shouldn't be forgotten.'
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 31, 2007
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