Sunday, July 28, 2019

Lynn Hindley 1965 - 2019

Miss Lynn Hindley - July 1984 by roGER

I first met Lynn Hindley in September 1981, we were 16 years old, and about  to start a two year stint at W.R Tuson college in Preston, Lancashire. 

Friendships are important to teenagers, and mine were especially important then as we'd moved from a small Welsh village that summer. I didn't know anyone in Preston my own age. Somehow I managed to pluck up the courage to talk to this beautiful girl.

First impressions were of a quiet, shy rather serious soul who worked really hard. She always seemed to be writing essays or reading set-books or revising for tests. Rather self contained, very independent. 

Later, when  the picture got complicated, how to reconcile that quiet shy persona with a serious love of music – really LOUD music. Which sort of fitted with the girl who loved to go out dancing, which fitted with the often slightly risqué fashion sense. Lynn was one of the few people I ever met who could go clubbing in a crisp white top and a black leather mini-skirt and look... classy. 

We went to several concerts together, I think she fancied the lead guitarist (Martin Hanrahan was it?) in a local band called "The Above." We'd show up the next day at college with our ears buzzing from the partial deafness we'd got the night before.

But then how to reconcile all that LOUD with someone who had the courage and the discipline and the fitness to become an expert in Karate? Which sort of explained that very mature, very reliable, very common-sense sort of approach to things. Which didn’t fit with the occasional teen-from-hell who’d felt her Dad's slipper just a few years previously. Which sort of did explain the rather sly wit and a wicked sense of humour:

“What’s that book you’re reading?” I once asked.

“Madame Bovary”
“What’s it about?”
“Madame Bovary.”
“Oh... er….” 
[Sigh. Game, set and match Miss Hindley.]

Lynn's family lived in a rather lovely rambling old townhouse in central Preston with large rooms and fireplaces and they had a jukebox. Yes a jukebox in their sitting room! Which I thought was cool. And still do.

At Tuson we didn't share any A level courses, but we both did a semi-mickey mouse subsidiary course in art and design where I flashed off my drawing skills, such as they were. A few years later I took her picture and did a pencil sketch from it. About 30 years later Lynn would send me a picture of the drawing which is at the top of this page.

After two years we both got our A levels and Lynn went to Preston polly and I ended up at the University of Manchester. We began to drift apart, although I enjoyed sending and receiving letters. Yes we wrote letters then and I'd sometimes do a cartoon or sketch to include in them as well. 

Lynn went to Schweinfurt for a year to perfect her German and seemed to have a vivid time there. After graduation, we saw each other a few times in the late 1980s, when she was living in Fulham  and I was busy feeling miserable in Reading. 

We went to one more concert together, in London, to see another band Lynn was associated with, but I can't remember their name now. That was pretty much it, as the following year I got posted to Geneva, and Lynn was in a serious relationship and stayed in London. 

Then came the Internet, then came Facebook. People go on about the evils of both but for me it's a been a wonderful way to reconnect with friends that normally I'd have never have heard about ever again. 

Lynn was good enough to get in touch in 2009, and we swapped the occasional message. and posted likes and occasional comments on each other's timelines. Lynn had a daughter called Kristen, who was lucky enough to inherit her Mum's intelligence and good looks. Lynn remained a single mother, despite having several long term relationships (which she kept separate from Facebook).

She'd changed careers pretty early on, from languages (she was a trained bilingual secretary) to computer programming. She worked for a couple of blue-chips; B.T and then B.P and finally a smaller company.

And then after a couple of years in July 2012 came the news she had a disease called Myeloma. In her own words: 

I'd never heard of Myeloma. The consultant said life-shortening not life-threatening and that he'd had patients on his books for 8 years. Not great when you're only 47!
No, not great at all. There was a stem cell transplant in January 2013, but the disease only went into remission for 10 months or so. Then there was chemotherapy and Lynn's beautiful blonde hair fell out:
Unfortunately my hair grew back darker so I have highlights now. I was hoping for curls as I always liked my perms 😄 but never mind, can't have everything!
There were various other treatments, such antibody reinforcement which were all partially effective, but never cured her. She died seven years after that first diagnosis, and incredibly was still working part-time three weeks before she died.
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When I think of Lynn, I'll always remember a kind, witty and very beautiful young woman who dressed well and had a razor-sharp mind and a wonderful memory. She wore her education and intelligence lightly; some foolish people would probably underestimate her. 

I'm pleased she had a great career and a wonderful daughter who's doing medicine at Manchester (good choice, Kristen). She enjoyed music and good company and wasn't afraid to love and be loved. It's cruel and sad that she's gone after just 53 years.

I will never forget her.

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