Anne & Betty: United By The Struggle
by Anne Scargill and Betty Cook with Ian Clayton
Foreword by Maxine Peak
Route is delighted to announce the acquisition of the memoir of two of the leading lights of the Women Against Pit Closures Movement.
Anne Scargill and Betty Cook met at the beginning of the miners’ strike. Betty was a proud miner’s daughter, wife and mother, who was determined to support her family and community. Anne happened to be married to Arthur Scargill, the president of the miners’ union. She too was steeped in the history of coalfield culture. Together they helped to create perhaps the greatest thing to come out of the strike, the Women Against Pit Closures movement. Inspired by the working-class values that raised them, they put their arms around those who needed support, fed the hungry, and stood firm against those whose intent was to destroy their way of life. Once the strike was over, through education and direct action, they stepped over the threshold to support working people in struggle both at home and abroad, changing not only the direction of their own lives, but many other women too.
Here for the first time in print, Anne and Betty tell their own story in their own voices. Told with humour and conviction, this is an indispensable slice of social history. It reveals the vitality of two remarkable women who possess the strength and resolve to stand up for what they believe in and how, no matter what, they never give in.
‘A must read about two women with extraordinary courage and a commitment to their community that has never faltered.’ Ricky Tomlinson
‘Anne and Betty are a constant inspiration to me. They are two beacons of hope that show that we are all capable of affecting change, tackling life face on and having a bloody good laugh along the way. I salute you both, my heroes.’ Maxine Peake
Route editor Ian Daley said of the acquisition, ‘Route sits in the heart of the Yorkshire coalfield, and the particular culture that coal mining creates is a cornerstone on which we are founded. It is an honour and a privilege for us to help Anne and Betty tell their story, their lifelong commitment and dedication to help working people and the communities that support them has long been an inspiration to us, and the Women Against Pit Closures Movement, which they are such an important part of, is a source of great local pride.’
This announcement is made on the day of the 2020 Durham Miner’s Gala as Anne and Betty’s book was due to be launched at this year’s event, but sadly the pandemic has put a halt to that. It would have been a great occasion, but hopefully by this time next year Anne and Betty will be able to celebrate their book with all their friends at Durham.
Anne Scargill: ‘I have been going to Durham Miners’ Gala every year for over forty years now. I am going to miss being there this time. It’s a shame, because I was looking forward to seeing all my friends. I will be back next year though. I would like to send my love to all my friends who I meet there. I will see you all next time.’
Betty Cook: ‘I love everything about Durham Miners Gala; the atmosphere, the camaraderie, the friends I meet there, it’s my favourite festival. If I had to choose between a holiday and Durham I would go for a weekend at the Gala every time. The Durham Miners Association has been so supportive of Anne and I over the years, we appreciate them no end.’
Ian Clayton: ‘I was looking forward to going to Durham this time as we were going to have a stall in the cricket ground and launch the book from there. That can’t happen this year, but the book itself is going ahead and I have my fingers crossed that Durham will be back on again next year, because like everybody else who loves it, I will be coming.
Anne Scargill has devoted much of her life to direct action. From the days of the coal miners’ strike, through to helping the homeless to volunteering for the local hospice, she believes actions always speak louder than words.
Betty Cook is a proud daughter of the coalfields. She learned all she knows about community and activism on her journey from Brick Row in the pit village of Woolley.
Ian Clayton is an author, broadcaster and storyteller from Featherstone, West Yorkshire. His stories are about making sense of where we come from. His books include Bringing It All Back Home, a bestselling book about music; Song For My Father about his lifelong search for a father figure; Our Billie about loss; and most recently It’s The Beer Talking about a life in public houses and ale which won The British Guild of Beer Writers Award for Best Writer about Pubs.
Anne & Betty: United By The Struggle is published in hardback and advance copies are SHIPPING NOW. (It will not be able via other trade channels until 9th November 2020).
Be amongst the first to read Anne & Betty’s book. Click here to order an advance copy