Saturday, January 26, 2008

The great men of Tower

Like most people who have lived or worked in Wales at some point, I was sad to hear about the closure of Tower Colliery, the last deep mine in the principality. It's a story that has a particular poignancy for me because I was covered the mine's initial closure as a reporter on the South Wales Echo in 1994, as well as the subsequent triumphant campaign to reopen it.

Tyrone O'Sullivan, the South Wales NUM leader turned mine owner, was a top contact during the whole saga and is one of the few people I met in my career in journalism whom I would describe as a genuinely great man. The story was later included in a special publication called Heroes of Coal which is still the single piece of work of which I am proudest in my whole career.

The 270 men of Tower who sank their £8,000 redundancy cheques into keeping the mine open will now share the proceeds of the sale of the land at Hirwaun for redevelopment. I hope they get top dollar - they deserve it.

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1 comment:

Vindico said...

This is a great story, the importance of which has been missed by the mainstream media it seems. These men showed that anybody can get involved in a free market. They became entrepreneurs, albeit collectively, and good luck to them all. Just because a 'big business' chnages focus or slims down should not be feared. The markets are in constant flux and there are opportunities to be grabbed if you have right inclination.

A great story of good old British determination and inginuity.