Linda Core, who has died aged 81, was a long-term resident of Old Post Office Lane, Badsey. She was, in recent years, a regular contributor to Community News with memories of her childhood in Evesham through to her twilight years. Last year, she published a book, Tales from the Tall, Thin House, which was a compilation of these tales. The title of the book came from Linda’s home on Old Post Office Lane – a 19th-century cottage built beside a much older house.
Linda was a familiar sight in Badsey. In the early days she was to be seen riding her trusty bike, then walking everywhere, and latterly in a wheelchair pushed by John Dallimore. Despite her infirmities, Linda kept cheerful and faced life with fortitude. She died in hospital on 18th December 2023. Over a hundred people attended her funeral in St James’ Church, Badsey, on 10th January 2024. The guests included the Vicar’s dog, Lily, who attended on behalf of all the dogs in the village, as Linda was a great dog-lover. Will Dallimore wrote an eloquent eulogy which is shown below.
* * * * *
Eulogy of Linda Core
Linda Dorothy Core was born on the 3rd of January 1942. She was the second child of Harry and Hilda Core of Lime Street, Evesham. From the age of five Linda attended Bengeworth Church of England School, which was handily placed only a hundred yards away from her home. When Linda was twelve she moved on to Evesham County Secondary School in Four Pools. Here she shone in most subjects, particularly English, Maths and Music. Receiving many prizes throughout her four years at the school in recognition of her excellent work. Linda left school in 1958 with O Levels in English Language, English Literature and History.
In December 1958 Linda started work at H Burlingham & Co, a company she would work for for the next 30 years. Burlinghams were situated at the bottom of Port Street in Evesham. They had been supplying the farmers, market gardeners and builders of the Vale with goods and services since the mid 18th century. Linda's world was now one of shorthand and typing. Ledgers, accounts, routine and repetition. As the years went by more office machinery was introduced making Linda's job a lot more interesting.
In the 1960s Linda and her mother moved to Shinehill Lane in South Littleton, where they lived briefly before moving to Old Post Office Lane, Badsey. Linda never learned to drive, and relied on her trusty bicycle to get her to and from work. In 1983 Linda's mother died. She had not been a well lady for some time, with Linda making extra cycle journeys home from Evesham each lunchtime to care for her.
In 1988 Burlinghams was swallowed up by a large builder's merchants and Linda, like many of the other employees, was made redundant. However Linda was not out of work for long and in March 1988 she got a job at Group 4 Total Security at Farncombe near Broadway. This was still clerical work involving financial accounts for the transport department. Linda spent three years here before she found herself on the dole again when the company re-located.
It was then just a matter of literally going downhill into Broadway to Cotswold Building Supplies in Leamington Road. Here she got an office job thanks to Geoff Collins, a colleague of hers from her Burlingham days. Linda celebrated her 50th birthday here, a memorable day. For as well as getting birthday cards from the other employees, the only cards she got from her employer was her P45.
Linda's next employment was closer to home at Seward House in Badsey. This large old building, for a long time the home of the Sladden family, had been turned into a Care Home for the elderly where Linda was employed as a cleaner. Linda spoke of seeing the ghost of a lady in the house during her time there, not that that would have bothered Linda, who was not prone to hysterics or the like. Linda was a well-balanced God-fearing individual. And it was her lifelong faith in God, along with her musical keyboard skills, that led to Linda playing the organ of St John the Baptist Church in Wickhamford, every Sunday for thirty years.
In 2002 a chance meeting between Linda and John Dallimore would start a friendship which would last the rest of her life. Linda had by now left Seward House, but had continued cleaning, this time for various private houses in the village. Whilst on her way to work she would pass John, who was working in the Lankets. A gentle nod led to a good morning, a good morning led to longer conversations, and eventually a request to do some work at her cottage in Old Post Office Lane.
John was not the first Dallimore Linda had encountered; she had worked with John's sister Angela, in the accounts department of Burlinghams back in the late 60s. It may have started here, or maybe earlier, but Linda would always give people nicknames, from then on she would use these instead of their proper names. There was usually a story behind the nickname. John's brother Will, who had helped fit a new kitchen and bathroom in Linda's cottage, was given the name 'Captain Clonky'. This was due to him 'clonking' on the wooden floorboards with his workboots whilst walking upstairs. He was never called anything else but 'Clonky' by her from that day on. Other names on her list included Paddington, Pinocchio, and Lizzie Glug.
Among Linda's other passions were walking and dogs. She would think nothing of walking to South Littleton and back to visit friends. Early mornings would find her up at the recreation ground greeting all the dog-walkers and their dogs. She may not have known the names of the dog-walkers, but she knew all the names of the dogs.
John, who was the Antiques Roadshow's greatest fan, would take Linda along with him to Roadshows across the country. She attended the recordings of around fifty Roadshows. Linda had two favourite experts, Andy McConnell who was the expert on glass items, and the late Henry Sandon. Andy would always call Linda, 'Princess', and would make a fuss of her whenever he saw her. One Roadshow at the Black Country Living Museum Linda couldn't attend due to illness. When Andy heard of this off he shot to a nearby newsagents to buy a get-well card shouting to John, 'Dallimore, hold the fort!'
Henry Sandon, who sadly died on Christmas Day 2023, was a good friend of John and Linda. Linda was his unofficial bread pudding maker, and would bake him a bread pudding for every Roadshow she attended. On one occasion John received a letter from Henry who had heard that Linda may not be able to attend due to illness and Henry had written, 'I hope she's not too ill to make a bread pudding?'
Linda was invited to join John, and his siblings, Georgina and Will, on self-catering holidays, and travelled to various parts of the country, usually near the sea. On one such holiday to Norfolk they visited Holkham Hall. In the entrance hall was a grand piano with a notice which invited guests who were proficient pianist's to play the instrument. Linda, was a good player, but needed sheet music which she didn't have with her, so she declined the offer. However, a couple of years later, when the holiday took them close to Holkham Hall again, Linda came prepared. She asked the Hall staff if the invitation still stood? You could tell that they were reluctant to let her play, but while they were finding someone further up the chain of command to make a decision Linda plonked her sheet music on the piano, sat down and played a rousing classical piece. This was quickly followed by a rendition of the Teddy Bears’ Picnic. She received the applause from other guests who had mysteriously appeared from nowhere, stood up, collected her music, and left.
Her piano playing also came in useful to the Dallimores when brothers George, John and Will started a singing group called Mix and Max to entertain at Care Homes. One such occasion was a Christmas do at Alvechurch. Having accompanied the boys with a program of festive songs, Linda packed away her sheet music into her leather satchel, sat down on the piano stool, and tucked into a mince pie. Suddenly in burst the local vicar dressed as Santa Claus carrying a sack of presents. After greeting the audience he suggested that they sing the carol 'We three kings of Orient are', gesturing to Linda to accompany them on the piano. Linda was not amused. Had she been less ladylike he may have received a gesture back. She simply ignored him and carried on eating her mince pie.
One of the highlights of Linda's year was at Christmas time. For many years she spent Christmas Day with David and Janet Osborne and their family at Knowle Hill. The day ending with a somewhat hairy ride home in a taxi driven by a colourful Welshman she called Uncle Dai.
Linda's life changed a couple of years ago when a massive stroke left her paralysed. However this never affected her mental state. She had always had a bit of 'attitude' but now she became frustrated. Frustrated that all the things she loved doing, she couldn't. What kept her going were the numerous friends that visited her, especially the members of Wickhamford Church, who arranged for her to take regular communion in her home. Also her neighbours who kept an eye on her and cooked her regular Sunday lunches. She made new friends with her carers, who visited three times a day. In fact the need for nicknames was still evident when one of the carers she named Mr. Moneybags, a name his colleagues still call him.
Without John, Linda's life would have been a housebound one. But he bought a car which took her in her wheelchair, and together they shared many an outdoor adventure.
And finally, had you walked into this church at this very time on any Wednesday prior to her death you would have found Linda sitting in her wheelchair in virtually the same place as she is today, drinking a cup of tea, eating a biscuit and enjoying banter and conversation with her Wednesday Church Group friends.
Linda was many things to many people, a princess, bread pudding maker, colleague, organist and friend. But what she will be best remembered for, was being Linda.
Will Dallimore, January 2024
Linda joined The Badsey Society in 2003 and was a keen supporter of events during her 20-year membership. At the Society’s Enclosure Map project event on 10th March 2007 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first comprehensive map of the parishes, as guests arrived, Linda gave a piano recital with a selection of music from the period.
Linda in particular loved the Flower Show and is to be seen here at the 2006 show when rain stopped play for about an hour, and everyone was trapped until the torrential downpour was over. Her last Flower Show appearance was at the 2023 show.