End of an Era

It is with a heavy heart that we say a fond farewell to our dear friend and colleague Linda Cooper who joined the small staff of Sarum College on 18 September 1995 as PA to the Principal following her end of career service in the Army.

As the college grew her role evolved, first as College Secretary then as Residential Services Manager and finally Director of Hospitality, the role from which she retired on Sunday 31 May 2020 amidst the pandemic – no where near how she had imagined nor would have chosen to end her time at Sarum!

‘I have enjoyed my second career spent at Sarum College immensely,’ Linda says. ‘I was very grateful to be offered the job, never thinking I would move into an equally fulfilling job after leaving the Army. The many colleagues, I have worked with, the people I have met, the friends I have made have made it all very special, and brought so much into my working and social life.

‘As a ‘people’ person I thrive on conversations with others, I love to help, and going the extra mile is part of my psyche. So the role at Sarum College felt as though it was made for me.

‘I have every intention of supporting the College, in any way I can. I wish and hope for a good future for Sarum College in the months and years to come. In these early days of retirement, I miss the college routine, very much. It will always be a place and time that I will treasure with love.’

‘Linda Cooper has given over 25 years of her life to Sarum College,’ says Principal James Woodward. ‘She knows the building and community so well. She has been instrumental in ensuring that our life and work is well ordered. She has supported staff. She has seen generations of students formed for the work of ministry. She has welcomed countless numbers of visitors and groups through the doors of 19 The Close. Hard-working, forbearing, steady, kind-hearted and generous, Linda deserves her retirement. We thank her for all that she has given and look forward to her ongoing friendship and support.‘

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23 Responses to End of an Era

  1. William Mitchell says:

    Very much end of an era! I personally shall miss Linda who I remember when she cane and enjoyed meeting up with her on most of my visits to the college over these years
    Wanting to wish her a fruitful, full and enjoyable retirement

  2. Laura Beres says:

    Please pass on my kindest regards and best wishes for a happy retirement to Linda, if you are able to.
    I completed my MA in Christian Spirituality a couple of years ago and during the years I attended Sarum for the modules I always looked forward to seeing and chatting with Linda. I was travelling from Canada each time I came and so stayed a little longer than just the time required for my module in order to deal with jetlag before hand and start my paper afterwards. I would buy flowers for my room to make it my home away from home and would then leave them for Linda. She started leaving me flowers in my room from time to time also, which felt so incredibly welcoming.
    Finally, she also took me to the railway station and bought be a slab of Kendal’s chocolate covered sugar as I set out north to walk St Cuthbert’s Way which found me walking through Linda’s home town. I had never heard of Kendal’s before and hikers’ need for it, and her kindness was very much appreciated.
    Anyhow, thanks again for everything you did, Linda!

  3. Thank you, Linda Cooper. I first met you when I participated in the Herbert Conference, and I renewed our acquaintance when I returned to Sarum College to conduct research for a dvd supplement for the Herbert Journal. Your hospitality is/was spectacular. I pray that God blesses you abundantly with health in your retirement. Enjoy!

  4. Vanessa Coryndon says:

    Thank you for all your help over the years, Linda. I will miss you. Have a happy retirement. Good wishes, Vanessa Coryndon

  5. Stephen Thornton says:

    I came to Sarum College at the same time as Linda, when I became Director of Training for the Wessex Synod of the United Reformed Church – and it was the beginning of Sarum College too – an ecumenical training college for all Christians – and anyone else who wanted to come. I served as a member of staff of STETS, the ecumenical ordination training course, and also ran many conferences and study days for United Reformed Church members and friends. Through it all, Linda was a most kind, helpful, friendly, capable and flexible person who did all in her power to see the College and all its events prosper. It has to be said, Sarum College started off in a very basic fashion, and has developed almost beyond recognition, not least due to Linda’s full participation.
    When I think of Sarum College, I also think of Linda’s welcome and help, and am for ever grateful. Thank you a thousand times, Linda.

  6. Jane Thompson says:

    i am enormously grateful to Linda for the welcome offered whenever I stayed at Sarum College. She was always a welcoming and friendly face. I hall miss her and wish her well. God bless you Linda. Jane T

  7. Margaret Venables says:

    I have been coming to Sarum College for more than 35 years and it seems to me that Linda has always been there. In recent years it was Linda who hugely contributed to my feeling of coming home. She always made sure everyone was comfortable and it was never too much trouble to stop what she was doing to help, however slight the problem. Even for just two or three in an evening Linda would open the bar!
    I wish her every happiness in retirement……and hope our roads might cross at some time.

  8. Jane Guyer says:

    So sorry to see you go Linda, and not be able to say ‘Goodbye and All the Best’ in person. Thank you for always being on-hand to advise and assist. I shall miss seeing you and having a chat on a Tuesday Evening. Take Great Care.

  9. Jane Knobel says:

    Dear Linda,
    I am one of thousands whom you have made feel very welcomed at Sarum College. My days of using the library and going through music in the organ room, while living in Korea, were very special times. The yellow social room was welcoming and a place to feel you were among academics who cared deeply about the ecumenical approach to theology, though under the umbrella of the Church of England. In later years, when I popped in the College for a few minutes, I knew you were somewhere in the building.
    Enjoy your village knowing you’re not far from the Cathedral and the College. At the moment our passports won’t allow us to return to our home in Market Lavington, but hopefully when the US spike lessens we can return.
    God bless with all best wishes

  10. Agnes Capes says:

    It will be very odd to visit Sarum and not see Linda there. She was almost part of the fabric of the college. Always very busy, and very kind but was never too busy for a brief chat. I hope she will enjoy her retirement but will be sorely missed. May God bless her.

  11. Joy Albone says:

    I will be very sorry not to see Linda’s friendly face at College, she was always a welcoming presence and I am sure she will be greatly missed. Please pass on my best wishes and prayers to Linda for a long and happy retirement!

  12. Deborah Underhill says:

    Dear Linda
    Good luck in the future . You have been the continuous known friendly face in the college ever since we got involved on the first TQQ whenever it was years ago.!
    Thank you for all you have done.
    Best wishes Debby and Robert Underhill

  13. Sarah & Peter Salisbury says:

    For Linda – very best wishes for your retirement. You have been a welcoming, friendly, familiar face for the many years we have been linked to Sarum College. Thank you for your kind support and help. Sarah & Peter Salisbury

  14. Liz says:

    Dear Linda
    It has been good knowing you and sharing our affection for Northumberland. I still have not managed to make it back to Stakeford, but hoping to get there later this year.

    Wishing you all the very best in your retirement.

    God bless


  15. Mary Grey says:

    Thankyou. This is an important moment for the College.
    Would you be able to send me an ongoing email for Linda, please? I would like to keep oin touch. With best wishes,
    Mary Grey

  16. Joyce Harrington says:

    Dear Linda, how can Sarum College EVER be the same without you?! As far back as my contact with the College goes, you have always been there to sort out anything and everything, from finding me a quiet space to meditate when I have been staying overnight to solving the problem of my missing bracelet after a stay – it had been macerated by the loo in the shower room! You seemed to live at the College as you were often there when I went to bed and there again when I was going to breakfast. I hope you will now enjoy a more leisurely lifestyle, whilst still keeping up your contacts in the College and the Close. You will be missed by so many people. Thank you.

    Joyce Harrington, Bradford on Avon

  17. Margaret Hayward says:

    Wishing you a very happy retirement Linda.
    I shall always be grateful to you for the warm welcomes each time I came to Sarum College for a residential weekend. And the many chats we enjoyed especially those regarding my home town, Thank you.

  18. \PETER DICKINSON says:

    Linda, you have always made me feel so welcome in my visits to Sarum College.
    Your knowledgeable presence will be sorely missed..

    All best wishes for an enjoyable retirement,

    Peter Dickinson

  19. Tessa says:

    I would like to personally thank Linda for her welcome and efficiency. She always made a STETS weekend or any visit to Sarum very special. She was ‘front of house’ for Sarum College and incredibly important role and I know she was also ‘backstage’ too in so many different aspects of life at Sarum College. It is rare to find staff so invested in an organisation.
    Have a richly deserved retirement, Linda. Hope it is everything and more than you would wish!
    With warmest thanks,
    Tessa Mann

  20. Brian Flanigan says:

    I remember well when I first contacted Linda, from afar (Australia), in February 2001 about accommodation at Sarum College, following my discovery that this was possible, after a visit to the Cathedral and a walk along the Close with a group in 1992. Linda gave me a lot of information, but I was unable to visit again for another decade, when Linda welcomed me, as she has done twice since.
    Linda has helped me enormously during my three stays since, including giving me a lift in her own car to the station a few years ago.
    Thanks, Linda, for that and for your great help over almost twenty years.

    Brian Flanigan

  21. Heather says:

    I would like to thank Linda personally for all her care and support when Salisbury Art Trail took place in 2015. It was over two weeks and a couple of artists were displaying there, due to the kindness of the College – we had no other venues. I was there on my own “watching the shop” and Linda kept an eye on me and kindly provided the odd slice of cake or biscuits left over from meetings or a mug of tea. Latterly, when I became chairman of a local charity and we held meetings at the College, she always made sure we had all the backup we needed for lectures, especially the audio-visual “stuff” which was a mystery to me. The trustees of our charity, the Salisbury Cathedral Close Preservation Society and, I feel sure, its members, would all join me in a heartfelt thank you to Linda.

    I do hope that she will come and visit me in my workshop in Salisbury in the future, as she has in the past, and will feel up to giving me her email address so we can meet up!

    Have a happy retirement and get to know your home which perhaps took second fiddle to the College!

    Heather (Olsen) xx

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