Aberfan was like the assassination of Kennedy and the death of Elvis. We remember what we were doing that 21st October. Jeanne and I also married on that date some years later.
Here's an extract from my autobiography, Putting One's Head Above The Parapet. Ken Vickers was the manager of Millletts, where I worked after leaving school. He had a perpetually wet lower lip and looked like John Mortimer. O.B. (Old Bastard) is of course my father, George Spurr, so-named by his brother who, like the rest of us, could not stand him. To shrug off all connections with him, I changed my name. To be free of him, my mother killed herself:
I later found out, when he had moved on to new pastures and was therefore safe from a tongue-lashing, or worse, that Ken had been a bit of a turd. In the wake of the Aberfan Disaster of 21 October 1966, when 116 children and 28 adults died after the collapse of a colliery spoil-tip, Mother organised a collection for relatives of the victims by placing a Saxa salt-tin on the shop counter. In one week she raised £21, a tidy amount at the time. A few days after dispatching this, she received a letter of thanks from the Mayor of Aberfan—and a visit from the police. Ken had reported her because O.B. had informed him that she had put the money aside for her next holiday. Later, O.B. tried to protest that he had only been joking. The police officer could not have been more apologetic after being shown the receipt and the Mayor’s letter. That evening, O.B. paid Mother a rare compliment saying that the meat-and-potato pie she had prepared for him was tastier than usual. She had exacted her revenge by swapping the usual best quality shin-beef for “Rex” dog-food!