Desperate to make ends meet, she worked for an escort agency, where a client threatened her at knife-point, and later took up pole dancing to subsidise her day job in sales, but quit after a colleague found out and outed her.
Pregnant with her third child, with the support of her husband, Kate decided to pursue a different path and enrolled in an Open University degree.
Now 50, Kate has turned her life around. She works as a life coach, helping other women strive to better themselves, and has penned an autobiography in which she lays bare the trauma she’s suffered in her life.
Here she shares her inspiring story with Fabulous…
By the time my son Toby was four and Charlie was two, I was at the point of grabbing the kids and hiding when the milkman came. We simply couldn’t afford to pay him.
It wasn’t until a bailiff knocked at my door with a notice that I hadn’t paid my poll tax worth £250 that I realised things had hit rock bottom.
My options were to give them things in my house or pay the full sum in two weeks, neither of which I was able to do. My final option was to do 30 days in prison.
I crumbled at how desperate things had become. I was 21 years old, with two young children, and no money to my name. I felt humiliated – and knew I had to fight my way out of it.
It had been a shock to everyone when I fell pregnant 18. Before getting together with the dad I’d jumped from one bad relationship to another.
I had terribly low self-esteem – largely down to the fact I was cornered and raped at 16 by a local man on a family holiday to the Greek Island of Rhodes.
The experience left me feeling utterly broken, terrified and ashamed. I was adopted as a baby and my mum Margaret, then 51, and dad Martin, then 55, were both teachers and very religious. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them.
I blamed myself mostly, and though I tried to carry on with life as normal I struggled to come to terms with what had happened to me.
Two weeks before my son Toby, now 30, was born in April 1989, my mum died. After that, nothing else seemed to matter anymore.
I left my boyfriend and my dad leant me money to get a small house and set myself up. Soon after, in 1991, I met a new partner and had my other son Charlie, now 27.
We got engaged and married within a few months, but it didn’t last long – I was hardly in the frame of mind for a relationship and we divorced two years later.
Financially things continued to get worse, and though my dad was helping me when he could, I had no income other than odd jobs like sales or even tarot card reading, which I indulged in for a while.
I first heard about the escort service at a party. A friend of mine was making £200 a month running a franchise in Warwickshire, and I sensed an opportunity.
Within a couple of weeks I’d set up a branch in Birmingham, helping clients find girls to take out by putting adverts in the local newspaper or by word of mouth.
I was able to work from home, meaning I was there for the boys. I tried my hardest to see it purely as a dating agency, but it still felt a bit seedy, and even dangerous at times.
I kept what I was doing quiet, ashamed, but managed to make enough money for two years to keep us stable and pay off my debts.
It came to a head in August 1996 when, at 26, I was held at knifepoint while trying to collect money from a difficult client.
I froze as he held the weapon against my neck. I remember thinking, ‘If I die, at least the boys will have my dad.’ Luckily I managed to get away without the money, but I knew I couldn’t do this anymore.
With no qualifications, at 25, I soon ended up back in a job that didn’t pay enough to support us, which is when I decided to take up pole dancing in the evenings. I’d always loved to dance and I almost enjoyed it.
During this time I became close to my now-husband Horace, 47, an industrial worker. He was a caring neighbour and though he didn’t like what I did, he understood why I had to do it.
One day in 2000 a man from my sales day job visited the club and saw me. He pushed to take me out on a date and when I refused he punished me by telling everyone at my work my secret.
I tried to brush off the looks and everyone talking about it but before long I reached breaking point. In 2004, I was also pregnant with mine and Horace’s daughter, who’s now 15, so I made my excuses and handed in my notice.
With Horace supporting me, I decided to finally do something for myself and enrolled in an Open University course.
Growing up, I was mildly dyslexic and struggled at school. Teachers had told me I shouldn’t expect to achieve much and I’d believed them. But with the help of financial grants and a lot of hard work, I graduated with a Certificate in Humanities and an HNC in construction Management and followed it up with a three-month counselling course.
In January 2018, as I sat at my kitchen table musing about my upcoming 50th birthday, I decided to write down my experiences and share them to help other women. I wanted to reach out to those who feel as though they will never be able to achieve the things they want in life and show them that it is possible.
I spent the next three months writing my life story. As I typed out the final few words I found myself fighting between feelings of sheer disbelief and an overwhelming sense of pride.
I could hardly believe how far I had come.
Kate’s book I Will If You Won’t Let Me, an Amazon Bestseller, is on sale now.
For every book sold, £1 will go to the charity Women’s Aid.
Click here to buy.
To read Kate's blogs go to www.kate-blake.co.uk
A debt-ridden mum recently revealed she makes £8k a year from dating men but she insists she's not an escort.
We previously told how a sugar baby is paid thousands to date rich, older men – and her boyfriend doesn’t mind.
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