Growing up in a mining family, Cath's husband Doug promised his father he wouldn't follow in his dangerous footsteps. But after struggling with terrible poverty in 1970s Scotland, Doug decided a pit job would provide his wife and young family much needed security, despite extraordinary risks to life and limb. Every day, Cath kissed her husband goodbye, not knowing if she'd see him again as he went to work at the coalface. And while her husband toiled deep below, the mother-of-five put her cooking and cleaning skills to use in the colliery canteen. In good times and bad, the miner's wives pulled together as much as their men underground. Then Thatcher swept to power and suddenly loyalties were tested and a fight for survival of a different kind ensued. One for their very existence.
Catherine Paton was born in Hamilton, Lanarkshire in 1946, and married Doug Black when she was nineteen. Doug became a coal miner in 1974, working at Bevercotes pit for the next decade. After becoming a mum to five children, Catherine joined Bevercotes colliery herself, working in the canteen. During the great strike in 1984, Catherine was one of the few female official picketers when she joined her husband in the fight to stop the pit closing under the Tories.