THIS 12-year-old girl was so moved by the impending demolition of Didcot Power Station she wrote a poem about it.
Alex Foley, who won a prize for her prose at Cranford House School, Moulsford, has good reason to be sentimental about the station.
Not only does she live in Crossville Crescent, overlooked by the cooling towers, but her granddad moved to Didcot from Ireland to help build it half a century ago.
But her tribute comes as RWE npower says safety must come before sentiment when it comes to demolition day.
The firm, which is planning to demolish the towers between 3am and 5am on Sunday, has come under increasing pressure to do it later in the day when everyone can watch.
Alex said: “I see them every day when I wake up, and when I come back from holiday and see them, that’s when I know I’m home. Some people don’t like to look at it, but I’m sad it’s going. They could have used them for something else, like a film set, or have tours there.”
Alex and her dad Stuart Foley are planning to drag themselves out of bed on Sunday to watch the big show.
They have even picked out a spot down their road when they can see the station through a gap in the trees.
But her granddad, Dermot Foley, who still lives in Didcot, has said it is just too early for him to get up.
Mr Foley, 70, who lives off Hagbourne Road, Didcot, said he was delighted with his granddaughter’s tribute in verse.
He added: “I’m quite touched by this. I worked at Didcot power station between 1966 and 1971 and helped to build it. People can see the power station for miles around and I will be sorry to see it go.”
Alex’s mum, Rebecca Carpenter, joked: “I think Alex has mixed emotions, but she is quite excited about watching it come down.
“I think npower are making a bit of a mistake doing it so early, they need to realise people in Didcot feel strongly about this.”
More than 3,000 people have now signed a petition at change.org calling on Npower to hold the demolition in daylight hours.
The Earth Trust, which owns nearby Wittenham Clumps, is inviting people to come and watch from its hilltop viewing point.
To find out more go to earthtrust.org.uk
Alex’s Power-ful prose
New and shiny like the morning sun
The building work is finally done
Busy, crammed filled with
working men, so many
You wouldn’t see the
same one again
Smoke pours out swirling
across the sky,
Black as coal the ashes float by
Happy, sitting beneath the evening stars
Listening to the occasional passing cars
Old, crumbling, neglected.
Workers gone, battered and rejected
Sad and empty, they stand alone
Now only the wind through
the chimneys moan
Towering Didcot they are seen
Now they are only known
as a scar
Hated by most, unloved, unwanted
Ghosts of old workers, chimneys haunted
The news came through this morning
‘No longer will they stand’ was the warning
They are going to bash them,
crash them and lash them
to the ground
Until no trace is left of them…
not even a sound.
Questions and answers on the demolition process
RWE Generation head of development, Steve Boughton, answers our questions
What are the arrangements for Sunday in terms of public viewing, traffic and policing?
We strongly advise members of the public not to attend the demolition. We anticipate that there will be a dust cloud following the explosive demolition of the towers and this will travel in the direction of the wind which can change at any time. To ensure people can see the demolition from the comfort and safety of their own home, we are setting up a live stream to a website and will publish more details next week. Milton Road and Purchas Road will be closed and police officers will be available to ensure both public and road safety close to the power station. The cooling towers will be lit
to ensure they can be safely demolished.
Did RWE decide the timing of the demolition between 3am and 5am or was it acting on the advice of other agencies?
The timing of the demolition has been carefully determined by explosives and demolition experts through consultation with a number of key professional bodies and stakeholders. The 3am to 5am timing is considered to be the most appropriate time in order to minimise the health and safety risk to the public and to minimise disruption to nearby rail and road networks.
Why won’t RWE name a specific time for the demolition?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to give a precise time because on the day there are a large number of operational and safety checks that need to be carried out over a period of a few hours leading up to the detonation. It is impossible to say precisely how long these checks will take.
What message would RWE give to the residents and community who are disappointed at the time and believe it should be changed?
Unfortunately in the case of an explosive demolition our overriding concern must be to keep the local people of Didcot safe. We are sorry that in this case it has to be a question of safety before sentiment.
Who will be ‘pressing the button’ for demolition and why were they chosen?
The initiation of the explosion has to be carried out by a qualified and competent expert.
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