‘Tales from the Allotments’ is my favourite story that I have ever written from the 50+ books I’ve had published. It is suitable reading for any teenager and adult. Although set in the 19th and early 20th centuries, it is a timeless story that is just as relevant today as it was 150 years ago.
It tells the story of a mining village where the local pit is the sole employer. The pit is closed down and the miners are made redundant. Many of the villagers move in search of new homes and jobs, but the families of 18 miners who own an allotment refuse to leave their homes and village.
After months and years of unemployment, increased poverty and the onset of hopelessness, all 18 ex-miners begin to work their allotment plot which become their saviour and provides them with a new purpose in life as well as fresh produce for their family tables.
My dearly deceased father, Paddy Forde was an ex-miner in West Yorkshire and I rededicate this story to his memory.
This country owes a considerable debt to the coal miners. For generations they helped to put us at the forefront of the world’s industrial stage. The coal they mined heated our homes, lit up our lives and fuelled the industrial furnaces of our manufacturing base.
For over one hundred years, the coal miners of England, Scotland and Wales risked health, life and limbs to bring us the produce of their labour. In conditions of dirt and danger, they did their daily work with unstinting effort.
The massive programme of pit closure since the 1980’s heralded the decline of mining communities and the prominence of the coal miner as an occupation of the future.
The legacy, which the coal miners left us, is not the wealth which they helped to create from the sweat of their labour, but the manner in which they conducted their lives then and ever since.
From the depths of economic depression, they showed us dignity. In periods of want they displayed compassion and generosity. They revealed to us the enduring qualities of fraternity, community spirit and neighbourly values. This is the historical legacy which they have bequeathed to the nation and I am proud that my father was a coal miner in his time. This book has been written in their memory and the memory of my deceased father, Paddy Forde.