The Aberfan Young Wives' Club

I first met The Wives ten-years ago for the 40th anniversary of the Aberfan Disaster.

I was giving a talk to them about my career in journalism. We chatted in the upstairs room where they have met every week since the disaster. I was struck by their positivity and zest for life.

I knew that some of the women had lost children in the disaster but it was impossible to tell which of them had been bereaved. No one spoke of the disaster and the lost children.

That night stayed with me for a very long time and over the years I have been back to talk to them.

For the 50th anniversary of the disaster, I was determined that the story of the Aberfan Young Wives should be told to a wider audience.

Rescue workers digging in the wreckage of the school engulfed by a mountain of coal at Aberfan. 116 children and 28 adults were killed. Credit: PA

On the 21 st October 1966 a coal spoil tip collapsed and crashed down the hillside above Aberfan and engulfed Pantglas Junior School. 116 children and 28 adults were killed in the disaster, which made headlines around the globe.

In the aftermath, a group of young mothers came together to form a support group. Some were bereaved but they came together in the name of friendship and sisterhood.

The Aberfan Young Wives' Club 1960s Credit: Aberfan Young Wives' Club

From small beginnings, the group grew and grew and soon there were sixty members and a waiting list. They were outward thinking and arranged guest speakers on a whole range of subjects.

Trips and outings were very much of the order and every year they would go to London to see a show.

Fifty years on the numbers may have dwindled and they are no longer the “young” wives but their spirit and enthusiasm for life endures.

'The Disaster isn’t spoken of, because they don’t need to.' Credit: ITV Wales

The bereaved have worn their grief with dignity and for that there is silent understanding between the women. The Disaster isn’t spoken of, because they don’t need to.

The grief has never gone away but the women have learned how to live with it and to still enjoy life. They have more children now and have created new families; the women have got on with their lives.

It has been a privilege to know the Aberfan Wives.

The Aberfan Young Wives' Club (9pm, Wednesday, 12 October, ITV)