Linda worked at Backup, previously Bolton Young Persons Housing Scheme for 22 years when she retired. From November 1996 – April 2019 she supported 1000s of young people. Forced to take early retirement due to ill health, she didn’t want to stop, she passed away in July 2021.
Linda was the most dedicated, effective, person centred, educated and methodical support worker we have ever seen. A qualified counsellor, social worker with a degree in Art she was well educated but had varied interests and skills. She put her clients first over everyone else which meant the service her young people got from her was second to none. She was always immaculately dressed, everything matched, nothing creased and not a hair out of place. Linda was kind, and her friends were friends for life. She loved to travel, had lived for some years in Canada but had been all over the world. Her retirement plan for which she saved all her life was to buy a place in Spain.
She had a habit of shortening people’s names, even when it didn’t work, so I was Maw, too lazy to say MauRA or so I thought. I asked her for about the first 12 months we worked together not to (1997) and in the end I gave up. I realised it was her way of being endearing.
She was a dog lover, obsessively so. Her dog Callie, was her pride and joy. My dog, Che, just rolled over and snuggled her every time she saw him because she used to talk in a high pitched dog owners voice and lie on the floor with him; and she gave him treats out her top drawer!
Linda has left a legacy across Bolton and beyond which has changed the lives of many young people who were homeless and struggling; some of whom would not be alive without her persistence, her intervention and her tenacity. She was a staunch advocate for young people, especially around mental health and supported numerous clients that had felt suicidal. Linda was the queen of benefit claims and assisted young people to maximise their income, reduce their debts and be financially stable. Lots of her “ex residents” kept in touch with her through work and continued to visit periodically. They will never forget the positive impact she had and neither will we.