The Prince of Wales paid tribute to four miners killed in an accident as he officially opened a monument on the site of a former Ayrshire colliery.

Charles visited the Barony A Frame restoration project near Auchinleck.

The vast steel structure, originally part of the winding gear at a shaft of the former Barony colliery, has been restored by the Barony A Frame Trust.

Four miners who died there in a 1962 accident at the colliery were remembered during the visit.

Charles chatted with some of the men's relatives before officially unveiling a plaque in the centre of the monument.

This was followed by a firework display which lit up the structure.

Hailing the families of the men who were killed at the mine, the prince told guests: "I know for them this occasion and this memorial is a form of closure after all these years of grief and agony they have had to endure."

The B-listed structure, constructed in 1954, is the last remaining example of its type in Britain.

The trust has raised more than £1m to restore and preserve the structure, seen by many as a symbol of Scots coal mining.

The four men who died on November 8, 1962, were Henry Green, John McNeil, Thomas Fyvie and George Wade.

They were drilling their way through fallen material when a barrier gave way and debris fell into the shaft. Their bodies were never recovered.

The colliery, which employed 1200 people at its peak, was closed in 1989 after 82 years in operation.

The funding for the project was secured from a range of organisations including Historic Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund, which gave more than £800,000 for the restoration.

George Wade lost his father, also George, in the accident when he was 14. He said: "It is very, very sad but it is good recognition not only for the four men who are interred and their families, but for mining communities as a whole."

Elizabeth Green, 94, the widow of Harry Green, added: "I am very pleased with the memorial and I think it is great that Prince Charles has come to open it."

Trust chairman and local councillor William Menzies said: "The prince's visit is a momentous occasion for the trust, for those of us who work at the Barony and for the local community.

"The restoration of this powerful symbol of mining in Ayrshire will not only be seen as a memorial to those that lost their lives in the industry but it will become a place of learning, pride and inspiration for future generations."