Dales People: A farmhand’s daughter who is dedicated to community service – Features

Happy to help: Linda Bird works with a number of community organizations in Teesdale and further afield.

DAUGHTER of a farmhand, Linda Bird was born in Corbridge, Northumberland, but came to Teesdale at a young age when her father took over a local farm.
She went to Bowes Primary School and Barnard Castle Grammar Technical School, now Teesdale School.
She worked in the housing department of Darlington Borough Council for ten years and moved to the University of Sunderland to manage student accommodation.
After earning an MBA, her work there evolved into people and organization development, including helping the university achieve the charter mark and maintaining its status as an investor in people.
Linda retired at 57 and spent three particularly happy years with her devoted husband, John, who had also retired. He was well known in the area, but sadly passed away in 2015. They had no children.
As a pensioner living alone, Linda has used her time, energy and organizational experience to help a number of active charities in Teesdale and beyond.
She is chairman of Abbeyfield Barnard Castle, which provides supported accommodation with additional care for ten elderly people at Abbeyfield House, Galgate.
“We have an ongoing project to create a sensory garden at Abbeyfield where residents and visitors can sit and enjoy the fresh air and watch the world go by,” says Linda.
“We plan to make it available for community use.”
Linda is a board member of the Teesdale Action Partnership which provides grants to local organizations and community groups to benefit their users and community.
She also sits on the board of Durham Community Action, which supports volunteering and local community groups. She was a long-time trustee of North Star Housing, which provides social housing in Teesdale, Teesside and adjacent areas.
For good measure, Linda is a board member of the Friends of The Bowes Museum and a member of the Barnard Castle Dementia Friendly Community Group.
During her work, Linda found herself “in many awkward situations” but refuses to give details.
“I could tell you many stories, but these are confidential to those involved,” she says.
Linda is just one of many people who devote so much of their time and energy to the vital volunteer work that is the glue that holds the Teesdale community together.
“We do it because there is a need, and without it so many vulnerable people would be much worse off,” she says.

Chris Foote Wood

Jill E. Washington