Lady Linda Evans
1st February 1937 – 24th May 2006
The following appeared in Our Dogs on 23rd June 2006. We thank Sandy Wadhams for allowing us to reprint her words here.
Lady Linda Evans, known to her friends and family just as Lin, never sought the limelight, but her presence and care were always a part of any event. Her parents ran a hotel and during the war the family were moved to Illminster in Somerset.
Linda trained as a teacher and subsequently married her sweetheart Eric Evans in Oct 1957.
Eric was made vicar of St Peter's, Bournemouth and it was here that she met her lifelong friend Mabel, at the Sisters of Bethany convent. Eric was then appointed Youth Chaplain at Gloucester and it was here that their two daughters arrived, Alex and George.
During this time Linda returned to her teaching of special needs children and met another lifelong friend Jean Riggs. After a time Eric was appointed Archdeacon of Cheltenham.
Linda was a conscientious clergy wife but she also had a great love of dogs. Her first dog Gel, then came the border collies, Josephine, Sian, Pip, Florrie, Ruffin, Daisy, Merry, and her current show dog Fletcher.
It was during this time that Linda joined Stonehouse Dog Club, which is where I first met Linda and Mabel. (Mabel made the tea and kept us all in order!) Linda was training Josephine and Sian and it was here that her passion for showing dogs developed. Her dogs were one of her great joys in life, easing her responsibilities as the Archdeacon's wife. Linda never missed a club event and had many successes in obedience as well as showing.
Then Eric was appointed Dean of St Paul's Cathedral London. Of course all the dogs went too and Linda was a new phenomenon at the Cathedral. She and Eric entertained everyone in the Deanery and Amen Court was alive with not just the dignitaries but of course with dogs and children!
During this time I used to teach at Brixton Dog Training Club and when holding a course there, I always stayed with Linda and Eric at the Deanery. Linda was a member of the Brixton Club and was always helping out on Tuesday nights, club night.
Well, it was such a pleasure to stay with Linda and Eric. They were simply marvellous hosts and I always took a dog with me. We were made so welcome and my dog just became one of the Deanery dogs. The dogs had their own armchairs in the Deanery kitchen and my dog just followed suit. The humans were left to sit around the enormous kitchen table, the dogs - of course - bagging pride of place in the comfy armchairs.
In those days Crufts was held at Earls Court and so after the competition we would go back to the Deanery, always a party of 12 or more, and our dogs would immediately select a chair and we would leave them all like that and go out to dinner. Such happy days.
It was at the Deanery that Linda started her breed line, the affix being 'Hambutts'. She also started showing her dogs and became well known in the Border Collie fraternity.
Many litters of puppies were enjoyed at the Deanery, with one litter being delivered in the back of the car by Hilary Hill on the way to the vets. All these puppies were named after London Monuments, which were being passed as they popped out!
Linda spent her retirement in a beautiful cottage called Hambutts Barn in the picturesque village of Painswick in the heart of the Cotswolds. Here she had many interests, Coordinator for Meals on Wheels being one of them, but her true passion was spending time at dog clubs and showing her dogs throughout the UK. At this time she befriended a young boy called Craig Gamble. As Craig didn't have a dog of his own she lent him one of hers, Daisy. She taught Craig the finer arts of grooming and preparing a dog for showing. Craig had many successes with Daisy, firstly in the Junior handling classes and subsequently in the KCJO breed and Obedience Classes.
There were several litters of Border Collies born at Hambutts Barn. Linda became a popular Judge in the KCJO and also gave special rosettes to the juniors. She never missed Crufts, taking her own dogs there on numerous occasions.
Unfortunately Linda suffered ill health and had a kidney transplant. But first and foremost and her inspiration to return to full health came from her dogs.
In all the years I knew Linda she never complained; was always so enthusiastic and caring to others. She was truly a lady in every sense of the word.
My lasting memory of Linda was a few days after she came out of hospital. Although very weak she insisted on coming to my home for a visit. It was a glorious hot early day in May; Alex brought her and all the dogs of course. We spent a wonderful afternoon sitting out on the lawn drinking tea and watching all the dogs racing around the garden.
Linda derived so much pleasure from enjoying her dogs having fun that for all of us it became one of those treasured memories of a very special Lady.
I know she has left so many of you with some special memories and as the inscription on the bench outside her cottage reads 'Rest and Give Thanks'. We all do for the life of this special Lady.
The family are very appreciative of the help and support that the medical profession had provided throughout her life.