A FORMER member of the Children’s Panel Advisory Committee, who was also a chairperson of the Samaritans, has died aged 66.
Linda Jones turned to voluntary work after a serious car crash in 1993 left her confined to a wheelchair.
Born in London to RAF pilot Ron Dench and his wife, Phyllis, a nursing sister, her father’s life meant she attended a total of 14 schools, including Perse School For Girls in Cambridge, Prince Rupert School in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, and Ripon Grammar School.
Linda trained as a teacher and taught in Germany and Dundee before settling in the Capital at St George’s School for Girls.
It was while working at forces schools in Germany that she met her future husband, Michael Jones, then a Phantom pilot, whom she married in 1972.
Her accident occurred while travelling home from a family holiday in Cyprus. She was left with serious spinal injuries and underwent months of hospital treatment.
Turning her attention to the voluntary sector, Linda joined the Children’s Panel and became deputy regional chair for Edinburgh.
She decided to train as a Samaritan in 1997 and after contributing much of her time to the cause, she was elected chair.
Friends said she was originally unsure whether she could adequately fulfil her responsibilities in the role, but her doubts soon proved unfounded.
A devoted lover of the arts, Linda attended the Edinburgh Festival each year and enjoyed dance, theatre and music.
She also directed her energies to making the arts more accessible to the disabled.
She became a board member of arts and disability organisation Artlink, which campaigns for greater accessibility to arts venues all over Scotland, and again was soon promoted to chair.
Her work campaigning for people living with disabilities and additional support needs drew huge praise, with former colleagues recalling Linda’s humour, emotional intelligence, humanity and independent thinking as some of her qualities.
Linda loved to spend time at sea and was an active member of the Jubilee Sailing Trust, which has two vessels fully equipped for those with physical disabilities.
This allowed her to undertake many adventures, travelling around the Scottish coast and as far afield as the Caribbean and the Canary Islands.
After being diagnosed with melanoma in 2011, Linda took up stitching and embroidery, and would create items for her family, with whom she loved spending time.
Divorced from her husband, Linda, who died on September 15, is survived by daughters Sophie, Katie, Jenny and Felicity, four grandchildren, father Ron and brother Graham.