Blow that will take many years to heal 

Blow that will take many years to heal 

Evening Post Wed April 11th 1973

A Union Jack flew at half mast over village the of stricken afternoon. Axbridge this Silent villagers groups of tearful gathered in the square to wait for news of friends and relatives pinned their hopes and on the un-named survivors. Almost the North every family in Somerset town have lost a wife, a sister or a child. All last night they had suffered agonies of anxiety as they hoped against hope their relatives would be among the survivors. Many filed silently into their ancient parish church, turning a Lenten service into a requiem for the dead. The rector, the Rev. Anthony Martin told worshippers: “On this very sad and tragic occasion I ask you to remember all those who may have perished. ‘And to remember the injured whose families and friends SO anxiously await news. 

All night from an emergency headquarters in Abridge town square, tired Mendip Round Tablers and Cheddar Lions toiled to help relatives. For hours they pieced together the names of the 61 in the party from Abridge Ladies’ Guild and those from the Cheddar Mothers’ Night Out. At the Post Office, Mrs. Jill Helps put the terrible plight of Axbridge into words. She said: “With mothers gone and children left behind I cannot think of a worse disaster.” She added: “This is a blow that will take years to heal.” 

Mrs. Jessie Jenkins spent the night worrying about her sister, Mrs. Queenie Fowler, landlady of the Lamb Hotel. Mrs. Fowler – Queenie to all in Axbridge had already arranged a party for her son Steven who is 21 tomorrow. Another resident, Mrs. Catherine Vowles said “This is a very close: community and a happy one. Someone is missing from almost every other house or shop.” She and her daughter were awaiting news of Axbridge builder’s wife Mrs. Barbara Brooks, who is the daughter’s mother-in-law. One Axbridge man has had no news of either his wife or his two married daughters. “That is his whole family,” said a neighbour. Mr. Steve Thorne and his wife Denise have heard that all her family are safe. Mrs Thorne is a cousin of a mother and two daughters who are among the survivors. They are Mrs. Nellie Long and her daughters Mrs. Pam Churches and Mrs. Bet Toomer. 

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