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Newspaper editor dies days after celebrating 70th birthday

Linda QuinnThe editor of a hyperlocal newspaper has died just days after celebrating her 70th birthday.

Tributes have been paid to Linda Quinn, who edited the Brixton Bugle and its sister website Brixton Blog.

Linda, pictured, also worked on a variety of publications from AutoExpress to Robert Maxwell’s ill-fated London evening paper, the London Daily News, during her journalism career.

She had suffered from a long illness which meant she spent the last eight months of her life in bed at her home in Brixton, where she had lived since 1975.

Her widower Alan Slingsby, who also writes for the Bugle, wrote in an obituary: “Linda led the revival of the printed Bugle and expansion of the Blog as well as making their parent organisation, Brixton Media, a community interest company (CIC).

“In line with her passion for passing on her knowledge and wisdom to young people, especially those from backgrounds like her own, she made sure that one of the CIC’s aims is to provide opportunities for aspiring young journalists to work on important stories and obtain bylines in print and online.”

Glasgow-born Linda attended the University of Stirling, where in 1972 she was briefly expelled after a protest about campus conditions during a visit by the Queen got “out of hand”.

Alan wrote: “An enraged establishment needed a scapegoat and chose Linda, who was expelled and had to battle for months to resume and complete her course.

“Gifted with many physical and mental skills, Linda had learnt to touch type with a brief course at university and became a typesetter – one of the very few female members of the London National Graphical Association, the union of skilled printworkers.

“She was also a leading light in left-wing and anti-racist activity in Brixton and South London, recalling how she and comrades took refuge from National Front members in the Angel pub (now Mamma Dough) opposite Southwyck House – the barrier block – where they had been leafletting.

“Living a literal stone’s throw from the Railton Road frontline when the 1981 uprising/riot began, she put a note on her car saying: ‘Take the petrol but please don’t torch it’. It survived unscathed.”

Linda moved into journalism as new technology “destroyed printers’ jobs”, and worked as a journalist and PR for trade unions for several years.

She later became head of publicity at the New Opportunities Fund, one of the bodies distributing funds from the National Lottery, where she oversaw its name change to the Big Lottery Fund.

Linda retired as the fund’s director of marketing and communications, but then took on the Bugle, which publishes 10 editions a year, after being asked to serve as editor when its founders moved on.

Alan said: “Her recovery from the rare auto-immune disease vasculitis in 2018 after 10 days in intensive care with her lung function performed by a machine and daily total changes of blood at St Thomas’ hospital did not stop her.

“This amazing recovery was not her first. Combining a relentlessly positive attitude to life and immense physical resilience, she had already survived tuberculosis, a ruptured gall bladder and several lesser health issues.

“After yet another health setback, the final eight months of her life were in bed at home, where she continued her lively communication with scores of friends and work for the Brixton Blog and Brixton Media.

“She was determined to reach her 70th birthday in February and did so, but passed away peacefully a few days later.”

Linda, who died last month, is also survived by her brother Billy.