The colliery has been producing coal for more than a century and was saved from closure by British Coal in 1994 after the 240 miners each chipped in pounds 8,000 to buy it. It has been run at a profit for the last two years.
Tyrone O'Sullivan, former secretary of the Colliery's National Union of Mineworkers' lodge and now a director of the pit co-op, believes the saga of Tower's survival has lessons for other enterprises struggling to stay afloat. "Community support was vital to us. Our new visitors' centre underlines this and is a lasting tribute to those who helped us," Mr O'Sullivan said. Tony Heath