{*} Memorial to Dunblane

Donations? Proceed With Caution

To try to help these specific cases is indeed a noble aim. However, be very careful about gathering in large sums of money. Thirty years ago after the disaster at Aberfan in south Wales, when many small children were killed accidentally, there was a huge fund gathered together without its being made clear precisely what it was for.

That money served principally to compound and prolong the grief of Aberfan when divisive and bitter arguments broke out in the community about what the fund was to be used for. I think the arguments even descended to such unthinkable depths of wrangling about the value in pounds, shillings and pence of each dead child. Please do not inflict this problem on Dunblane.

Let's try to be logical about this. Disasters which involve the loss of mothers and fathers are the tragedies which need money to be gathered in for the support of orphans, but such appeals are often ill-supported.

Disasters which take the lives of small children, however heart-wrenching they may be, are not alleviated by collecting money beyond what may be needed for the type of activities which you list above, but they are paradoxically the very kind of tragedy which moves folk to open their purses as well as their hearts. If you do collect a great deal more than you need, please be very very careful what you do with it. Consider its possible use as a fund for international humanitarian work in the name of the Dunblane children (probably best administered by your own society) but do not pour vast sums into the town of Dunblane for unspecified purposes. We only have to look at what happened in Aberfan to know that this will do more harm than good.

My observations must seem very harsh .. even inhumane .. at a time like this. It would be much easier for me to remain silent than to post this. I write only because I believe that my remarks are important to the future well-being of Dunblane, where I once lived.

There seem to be people starting up funds all over the place for Dunblane, and I fear very greatly for the outcome of all this.

I do not, on the other hand wish to speak in any way against specific necessary financial assistance for the aims you state or for other well-defined and immediate needs.

Alasdair McKay
Native of Stirling, Scotland
Resident of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia (Canada)

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