Miners’ strike book will be launched at Blaenavon's Big Pit

Miners' strike: Natalie Butts-Thompson, left, and Deborah Price with their book

Miners' strike: Natalie Butts-Thompson, left, and Deborah Price with their book

First published in News

TWO students have penned a book giving a human account of the 1980s miners’ strike to mark the 30th anniversary of a conflict that scarred a generation.

Deborah Price and Natalie Butts-Thompson teamed up to write How Black Were Our Valleys after becoming fascinated by the failed year-long walkout that weakened British trade unions.

The book features first-hand accounts of strikers who capture the human struggles behind the bitter conflict of 1984/85 and the scars of former miners, which have sparked calls for a public inquiry.

The mature students are both taking English and history foundation degrees through the Universities Heads of the Valleys Institute, which is run in partnership with the University of South Wales.

They are planning to launch their book with guest speakers at the Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenavon, from 10am on April 5.

All the profits from the sale will go to the South Wales Area Miners’ Beneficiary Fund.

Ms Price said: “We believe the hardships that those families went through should be recorded as part of Welsh history.

“We gained a lot of knowledge about the strike and events before, during and after. We learned of personal experiences and emotions that are still raw today.

“The whole experience was exciting and enjoyable. It involved a lot of work to get the book ready for publishing, but because the topic was so interesting it didn’t feel like work at all.”

Ms Butts-Thompson added: “I really enjoyed the experience of writing the book, meeting new people, listening to their stories and viewing images of the strike.”

“It has been a rollercoaster of emotions, but a fantastic experience that I will never forget.”

Fiona Reid, associate head of the school of humanities and social sciences at the University of South Wales, said: “This book is a real tribute to the men and the women of the Welsh Valleys who stood so firmly against Thatcher and her Tory government during the miners’ strike of 1984/85.

“Based on interviews with those who took part in the strike, this book makes plain the violence that was visited upon a whole community as an instrument of policy.

“There are genuinely moving images throughout this engaging and very human account.” The students are based at Coleg y Cymoedd, Aberdare. How Black Were Our Valleys: A 30th Commemoration of the 1984/85 Miners’ Strikes can be bought through the Amazon website.

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