Welcome to the site of The Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust

England’s acclaimed author and humanitarian… whose work is just as relevant today.

Catherine Cookson had a tough upbringing. Born Catherine “Kate” McMullen in 1906, she grew up in South Shields. She was raised by her grandparents, and grew up believing her mother, who suffered with alcohol addiction, was her sister. Here’s how her life developed as a tale of sadness and hope.

She left school at 14, and later took a laundry job, before relocating to run a laundry service in Hastings. Here she met her husband, Tom Cookson, a teacher at Hastings Grammar school. But their life together wasn’t all straight sailing.

Dame Catherine suffered four miscarriages in the late stages of pregnancy. The diagnosis was telangiectasia, a rare vascular disease causing bleeding from the nose, fingers and stomach. She suffered severe depression – turmoil lasting a decade. But she found salvation.

Writing was therapeutic for Dame Catherine, helping her cope with depression. Her first novel, Kate Hannigan, was published in 1950. She went on to write over 100 books, selling more than 123 million copies, her novels being translated into at least 20 languages. She described her books as historic novels about people and conditions she knew. She died at 91, completing her final stories from her sickbed.

Longstanding Legacy

Dame Catherine became a multi-millionaire following her success. She donated over £1 million to medical research examining vascular diseases, including that conducted by the University of Newcastle with particular focus on detection of deafness in children. She also helped the university fund its Hatton Gallery and library. Furthermore, financial support went to less fortunate writers.

Today the Catherine Cookson Trust continues to make donations to worthy causes in the UK, especially to young or disadvantaged people in North East England, where Dame Catherine grew up.

How Can I Help?

The trust receives royalties from every book and DVD sold. This money facilitates our charitable donations. Would you like to explore the literature of Catherine Cookson for the first time? Long-term fans, why not buy a novel you’re yet to experience? Enjoy a renowned story whilst supporting a great cause.

Below is just a small selection of books still in print, many more are available worldwide in over 20 languages. More can be found here.

Below is just a small selection of the books still in print, many more are available worldwide in over 20 languages, more can be found here. The trust receives royalties from every book or DVD sold and this money makes up the bulk of the charitable donations.

The Catherine Cookson Trust and You!

You could be eligible for a grant. If you’re in education and training, environment and conservation, arts and culture, as well as general charitable purposes, you could be awarded between £250 and £100,000. In particular, we aim to meet the needs of North East England, where Dame Catherine grew up and lived much of her adult life.

There is no application form. With no set format or time limit for applications, many groups are able to apply that might otherwise be restricted. Each application is considered individually.

If you’re interested in applying, please complete this short online form. We will contact you with details on how to proceed. This form also provides more information about eligibility.

“The Girl was gone, buried in the past. She never wanted to hear that name again. She was a woman for better for worse. Whatever the future might bring she could face it as a woman, Ned Ridley’s woman.” Catherine Cookson, The Girl

Who has the trust helped?

The charity undertakes its charitable activities through grant making and awards grants to a number of institutions in furtherance of its charitable activities.

Click the link below to find out more:

“Fear is the enemy, fear is the foe, if you run before it down you’ll go. But if you stand and look it in the face, God will pour into you the bravery of grace.”
― Catherine Cookson, The Tide of Life