Community mainstay Lynda dies aged 70

Date: Tuesday 9th October 2018

A WONDERFUL woman who played a big role in the community of Warcop and brought joy to many with her beaming smile has died, aged 70.

Lynda Bromby (nee Haywood), of Croft View, was born in the Thornleigh Nursing Home, Bradford, on 3rd May, 1948, the daughter of Joan and the late Douglas. Her father was a family butcher who had his own business in Allerton.

She grew up in Thornton, near Bradford, before moving to Oakworth, near Haworth, when she married her husband, Ray, in June, 1971. Lynda and Ray both went to Fairweather Green Junior School, near Bradford, although they did not know each other at that time.

A member of brownies and guides, Lynda was also crowned May Queen at Fairweather Green when aged 13. Lynda then went to the City High School followed by Bolton Royd College, Bradford, and Ipswich College, now renamed Suffolk University. Here she gained qualifications for social services on a Home Office course on children, young adult and young offenders’ care.

While attending Bolton Royd College, Lynda and Ray at times travelled on the same West Yorkshire red bus — as he was going off to the School of Architecture. After being captivated by her always smiling, happy disposition, he plucked up the courage at the age of 20 to send her a Valentine’s Day card. They then spent the next 50-plus years hopelessly in love.

On qualifying, Lynda took over a small children’s home in Bradford and became “house mum” to eight children of mixed ages — a job she enjoyed and did until she married Ray. She continued working in social services, helping families in their homes facing real difficulties. Lynda kept a photograph of every child that passed through her care, such was the affection in which she held them all.

In 1970, Lynda was the subject of an ITV programme called Working Together, about a day in the life of a house mother, made by Austin Mitchell, presenter of the daily programme Calendar on ITV.

That same year she also appeared on BBC television’s Come Dancing show — representing the north of England with Ray against the Home Counties in a new dance written for the show. Lynda and Ray loved to dance and most Saturday nights in their early years would see them at the Mecca Ballroom. The couple’s first married home was at Oakworth, where their children, Kenton and Janine, were born. They then moved to Harden, near Bingley, before retiring to Warcop 10 years ago after buying a house in the village 18 years ago.

After retiring from being partner in charge of education at Watkins Gray International, a world renowned practice of architects, Ray became chairman of trustees for Warcop parish hall, and Lynda played a big role, like others, in helping to raise funds for the new hall.

Lynda helped start the Warcop and Sandford Exchange and when Princess Anne came to open the new hall a year ago, Lynda told Her Royal Highness all about it. The Exchange forms part of a chain across the country which aims to end social isolation by encouraging people to attend to exchange borrowed books, ideas and gossip.

In June, despite being quite ill, having been battling bowel cancer for two years, Lynda was determined to make a trip down to Buckingham Palace after she and her husband were invited to attend a royal garden party by the Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria.

Lynda will be remembered as a “special lady” who gave help, care and encouragement to many and was “always smiling with a sparkle in her eyes”.

She is survived by her husband Ray, son Kenton, daughter Janine, and grandchildren Rachel, Sophie and Francesca as well as her mother Joan, and brother Richard. At the funeral service in St Columba’s Church, Warcop, the congregation was also asked to remember in their thoughts a lost granddaughter, Siena, who died two years ago aged just five days old.