Bristol Evening Post Tuesday April 17th 1973
There was relief in four Somerset villages today that they will be able to mourn victims of the Swiss air disaster in private. Strenuous official denials have quelled fears of a psychiatric survey of grief In Axbridge, Cheddar, Congresbury and Wrington. Mr. John Todd, chairman of Abridge Parish Council, said today: “These denials have put people’s minds at rest. The less questions these people have to answer the better it will be for them.”
Todd said the village would have strongly opposed any psychiatric probe. Abridge Rural Council chairman Cilr, John Walter, who lives at Congresbury, said: am reassured by what has been said. I think there was a lot of misunderstanding over this matter.’ CIr. Walter was among those who attended a meeting at Wells yesterday to discuss possible long-term problems arising from the disaster.
The meeting was attended by top medical experts who investigated the aftermath of the Aberfan tragedy. Afterwards Weston-super- Mare M.P. Mr. Jerry Wiggin said the experts had attended the meeting purely to give advice, “There is no question of experiments of a psychiatric or any other nature being carried out in the villages,’ he said. Psychiatric help would be available, but only if requested by local doctors.
Yesterday’s meeting was attended by clergymen, parish councillors, social workers, district nurses and doctors. Among the problems they considered were the arrangements for looking after children whose mothers died in the air crash. Suggestions were made for the care of these children after the end of school each day, and the time their fathers arrive home from work.
The legal position of villagers affected by the disaster was also on the agenda. It was agreed to advise these people to consult a solicitor at once. The numerous appeal funds which have been set up, were also discussed. Mr. Wiggin revealed that he had advised against separate appeal funds. “There are bound to be problems with funds, but the villages each want their own separate fund and it is not for me to interfere,” he said.
Donations ‘will be put to good use’
Abridge Rural Council’s chairman, Cllr. John Walter. today appealed to those people who are considering making a donation to the Swiss air disaster fund. “If anyone is holding back from making a contribution to see what the money will be spent on, I would ask them to send their donations now. We will see the money is put to good use,” he promised. T
here had been some criticism, Cllr. Walter told the council, of the fact that there were five funds operating, in each of the four villages most badly hit Abridge, Cheddar, Congresbury and Wrington, well as the one organised by the rural council.