OBITUARY: Linda Clarke
ONE OF BRIEFING’S LONGEST AND MOST LOYAL SUPPORTERS, LINDA CLARKE, died on the 20th November, a few days after her 69th birthday. She wrote articles on disability rights in the 1980s’ issues of Briefing. She contracted multiple sclerosis at the age of 30 and, despite its aggressive form over the last few years, she was a fighter to the end.
Linda and I both went to the same comprehensive school in Lewisham. We left school at 16, both having been Labour supporters during the 1964 General Election. We lost touch until we met up again at the Lewisham anti-fascist demonstration in August 1977 where we managed to exchange phone numbers while stones and missiles were being thrown and police horses charged around us.
She was a trade union rep when she worked for British Telecom and when she retired early because of MS, she became active in the Hornsey and Wood Green Labour Party. She received a miner’s lamp in recognition of her work during the miners' strike and contributed to the work of the Disabilities Committee of Haringey Council.
Linda's interests were wide, from English literature, theatre and film to the blues and jazz of Billie Holliday and Miles Davis, and to cricket and travelling. Despite her many disabilities, Linda kept politically engaged. Linda was looked after at home by her older sister Jean, a good friend from the local Labour Party Vince, as well as by a wonderful group of carers who had originally come from all over the world. She lived life to the full and was an inspiration.