The Guardian of the Valleys

Six Bells Disaster

In the summer of 1960, the community of Six Bells near Abertillery, south Wales witnessed a disaster that would haunt them for the rest of their lives.

On June 28th an underground explosion at 'Arrael Griffin' colliery led to the deaths of 45 miners, all local men - fathers, sons, husbands, brothers.

Fifty years later, to the day, after tireless work by the community and local organisations, a steel sculpture by Sebastien Boyesen, over 60ft high, was dedicated to those who died.

The name of each man who perished is engraved on its plinth. It was not possible to attach the outstretched arms for the opening ceremony due to safety concerns, but the statue was complete by the 28th July.

Guardian of the Valleys

This short film, by Alun Jones and Ian Smith, records the commemorative event and the dedication of the 'Guardian of the Valleys' who now stands proud, in memory of not just the Six Bells miners, but miners everywhere.

Comments (4)

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29 April 2022, 13:55
Can you please give address or directions to this monument
Sara Huws Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
3 August 2017, 14:00

Hi there Mary

I saw the programme too and wondered! I have checked the artist's own website and have confirmed that the title of the work is 'The Guardian'. Reference:

Thank you for your enquiry and best wishes,

Digital Team

Mary Wheeler
31 July 2017, 19:59
Hello There, we watched 'The One Show' tonight and they had an article on the Guardian but were calling it 'The Angel of the Valley' ? We always thought it was 'The Guardian of the Valley?
could you let me know which is right please
thank you
Mrs Wendy Partridge
4 November 2015, 22:08
Gaurdian was was a long awaited , lasting memorial to our 45 men. Who paid the price for coal. My husbands Father and brother , Billy and Tony Partidge being 2 of them. At last we felt that they were laid to rest. It is somewhere where we feel we can be close to them and can sit in the peace and tranquility and reflect over the lost years. This is now being taken from us by B.G.C.B.C who have decided in their mercy to build a school on this site.. I have. Petitioned and fought to stop this happening to no avail. Where is their compassion for these 45 men. Sadly they have none. I hope you can all rest in peace BGCBC Because our men won't