Over one year ago, Richie Davis wrote this powerful story for the Greenfield Recorder, our local paper. Our interview together was the first I had spoken publicly about the composition that had been underway for years.
From one of our email exchanges, his words: “The team in the mortuary were composed entirely of Regional Crime Squad Officers drawn from all over Wales….We were tasked to set up a mortuary, and identify the 144 victims of the disaster. I was designated the Senior Identification Officer and worked with my team in the mortuary at Bethania Chapel in Moy Road, Aberfan for 15 days until the last body, and body piece, was identified.
Aberfan was a small village. No police station, no town hall, no gymnasium which was why we had to use the totally inadequate facilities of the Sunday school room at the rear of the chapel for receiving, washing the bodies etc. and the body of the chapel itself to place the bodies for viewing. Once a body had been identified and the cause of death recorded by a pathologist, without exception asphyxiation and multiple crush injuries, Death Certificates needed to be issued.
It now sounds very incongruous and bizarre but they were issued from a local land mark, the village fish and chip shop.
In my handwriting, a notice was placed on the door of the chapel directing families to that location.”
I am deeply grateful for all that he has passed on to me.
$8220 has been raised! With gifts ranging from $15 to $2250, individuals, non-profit foundations and institutions are helping to make the recording and presentation of Aberfan a reality! Join them with your tax deductible gift today!
Art connects us not only to the symbolic life of the soul, bringing light to darkness, but to external events that caution us. Art stretches our minds and hearts, eliciting change where we had not felt before.
$12,320 more will enable us to complete the recording, which is necessary for use in live performance and installation. Express your support of independent creative art whose effect is to incite change.
In the words of one donor: “This wonderful piece of music with its visual component has the ability to educate people about issues as large as the industrial rape of the landscape and the environment. We have visited parts of the country that have been ‘saved’ by fracking, and the people with jobs aren’t looking down the future at what they are doing to the earth.” By addressing the visceral, personal experiences of the disaster, Aberfan investigates how art, together with technology, can be used for experiential healing, while implying the disaster’s universal relevance as an almost-forgotten humanitarian crime. ACT NOW.