'Dad, it's the happiest day of my life,' Kate said. 'I wish time would stand still and it could be today forever.' It's June 1897, and Kate is celebrating her eleventh birthday on the day of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Kate's joy is short-lived, as tragedy strikes, threatening her family with the loss of all they hold dear. Before long they are evicted from their home in Ancoats, Manchester, and with no wages coming in and a mother unable to cope, Kate has to grow up fast. Her deepest desire is to keep her brothers and sisters together. A journey of hope and heartache takes Kate from the hardships of the workhouse to the dubious comforts of a position in service to the rich; from the joys of marriage to a good man, to the sorrows and losses suffered during the Great War.
Billy Hopkins (better known to his family and friends as Wilfred Hopkins) was born in Collyhurst in 1928 and attended schools in Manchester. Before going into higher education, he worked as a copy boy for the Manchester Guardian. He later studied at the Universities of London, Manchester and Leeds and was involved in school-teaching and teacher-training in Liverpool, Manchester, Salford and Glasgow. He also worked in African universities in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Billy Hopkins, author, husband and father of six, died aged 83 in 2012.