For many years, my mother, Linda Middleton, who has died aged 82, was a successful and popular teacher in Yorkshire and Gloucestershire. A longtime member of the Labour party, in 1981 she was elected as a member of West Yorkshire county council (WYCC) for the Morley district of Leeds. After the abolition of the WYCC in 1986, she became the Leeds city councillor for the Middleton ward. In 1997, she was made lord mayor of Leeds, serving the city she loved, with her younger sister, Kathleen Thompson, as her lady mayoress.
In 2000, Linda was appointed MBE for services to women and public transport in Leeds. After her retirement from the council in 2003, she became an alderman of the city and also held the office of deputy lieutenant of Yorkshire. Politics apart, her overriding passion was Leeds United. She held a season ticket for almost 40 years.
Linda was the second of four children, born into a working-class family in Hull, east Yorkshire. Her father, Robert Best, believed strongly that his daughters should be as well educated, and as thoroughly supported in their aspirations and achievements, as his sons. Linda attended Wakefield girls’ high school and got a job as an NHS clerical worker. Her experience of working in the NHS in its early days led to her getting involved in the Labour party, and she was a founder member of the Lupset branch of the Labour League of Youth, in Wakefield.
Twice divorced, Linda brought up her two daughters with the support of a circle of good friends and her family. She was devastated by the death in 2003 of Kathleen, to whom she had been extremely close. She is survived by her younger brother, Victor; me and my sister, Jodie; and her granddaughter, Siân.
Kerry George, The Guardian