PilgrimageBMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7318.943 (Published 20 October 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:943
- Julian Randall, general practitioner
Ihad just turned 12 and my first half term at grammar school was over. I caught the bus home with blessed relief. After leaving an enlightened country primary school I was making heavy weather of Latin primers, bullying prefects, and a firebrand nationalist Welsh teacher. I waltzed into the house looking forward to five days of happy freedom. It was not to be. Mother was in tears and father was white with fury. I read the headline of the South Wales Echo over father's shoulder and found out why. It was 21 October 1966, the day of the Aberfan disaster.
The statistics were grim: 144 were killed after a spoil heap slid down a mountainside into the mining village of Aberfan and destroyed houses and a junior school; 117 of the dead were children younger than I was. A week later the funerals began. Some of the families buried …