On Friday the 21st October 1966, there was a catastrophic collapse of a colliery spoil tip in the Welsh village of Aberfan, near Merthyr Tydfil. The spoil tip engulfed the local Junior School sadly killing 116 children and 28 adults. That night was also the night before Andy got married and the night we ran out of petrol when we were playing out Hereford way. When we eventually got the van going, I remember going across the roundabout, outside of Abergavenny, on the A40 where the Heads of the Valleys Road starts. The police were turning back a stream of people in vehicles trying to get to Aberfan to help, as they were hampering the rescue operation. The disaster shocked all of us; especially as it happened on the very day the school was breaking up for half term.

Memorial to those who died

We all jumped at the opportunity to play at a disaster appeal due to be held in Tredegar Working Men’s Hall cinema. The event took place in December 1966, with a few other groups taking part as well. One was called the Vikings and another was a young band called Fusion, who had a member called Lyndon Evans, who remembers listening to our brass section rehearsing in the dressing room. We would play again with the same band, which are now called ‘Now and Then’ in October 2013 at the Catholic Hall in Ebbw Vale.

I believe, but cannot be sure, that a very young Henry Spinetti also played, at the event, with a group called the Next of Kin; a group that had Rob Evans on bass, who would later go on to join the Pieces.

I cannot remember much of that night, other than the manager, apparently a Mr. White, came on stage and threatened to stop the show, unless the crowd, predominantly girls, calmed down. We had to have a police escort us out of the cinema and onto the road back home.  

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