Student authors capture a striking portrait of their community’s spirit


Two Coleg y Cymoedd students have achieved literary recognition from the world’s most well-known online book retailor, Amazon, who will stock their book exploring the South Wales Valleys during the 1984/5 miners’ strikes.

Natalie Butts Thompson and Deborah Price, who are students at the college’s Aberdare campus, are the co-authors of a fascinating new book exploring the adversities and community spirit of Rhondda Cynon Taf during the strike period.

Their book ‘How Black were our Valleys’, was officially launched at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Aberdare Campus where the authors are both studying towards a Foundation Degree in English and History, which is run in partnership with the University of South Wales.

The book was started during Natalie and Deborah’s work placement with the National Union of Mineworkers. During that placement, the pair were tasked with compiling case studies of those involved in the 1984/5 strike, which saw hundreds of miners across Wales and the UK downing tools in protest of Margret Thatcher’s planned colliery closures.

Having travelled the length and breadth of the South Wales Valleys to interview ex-miners and their families, the authors realised that their work had ultimately provided the content for a book in its own right.

Speaking of her personal inspiration for the book, Natalie Butts Thompson, said: “When Margret Thatcher died, my youngest daughter didn’t even know who she was. It’s important to keep the memories of these struggles alive as they’re an important part of Welsh history.”

Commenting on the project, Deborah Price said: “We learned of personal experiences and emotions that are still raw today. The whole experience was exciting and enjoyable.

“A lot of work went into getting the book ready for publishing, but because the topic was so interesting it didn’t feel like work at all”

As a fitting tribute to the communities affected by the strikes, all profits from the book’s sale on will be donated to the South Wales Area Miner’s Beneficiary Fund. The Fund provides assistance to ex-minors and their families.

To purchase your copy of ‘How black were our Valleys’ please visit:

Find our more about our Foundation Degree in English and History at: /courses/all-courses/course-detail-test-page.aspx?c=26273

Student authors capture a striking portrait of their community’s spirit



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