Obituary: Linda Butler

A tribute to Linda Christene Butler (nee Swansborough) July 1951-June 2016.

Linda returned to nursing in 1987.

We were a small set of student nurses who gathered in September 1969 at Fulham Hospital (part of the Charing Cross Group), but even from those early days it was apparent that Linda Butler was outstanding.

Both practical and academic study came easily to Linda, who was fulfilling her childhood ambition. She blended her caring nature with a brisk can-do attitude, and was great fun to be around. Those qualities carried into her friendships, marriage, motherhood and community work.

Linda was born in Reading in 1951, to Cliff and Christene Swansborough. She had younger twin sisters, Sheena and Carolynne, and attended the Abbey School in Reading.

After doing her midwifery training, Linda worked on surgical wards at Charing Cross where she became a sister, before training to be a clinical nurse specialist in stoma care. By then she had married Robin, and their daughters Anna, Fiona and Sarah were born between 1978 and 1984.

Return to nursing 

On moving to Oswestry, Linda concentrated on her family and community, volunteering and becoming a school and college governor. She returned to nursing in 1987, undertaking research and working on the bank and in practice nursing. In 1993 she became a staff nurse on the Recovery Unit at Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, where she stayed to become a sister and then a unit manager.

A colleague from that time described her well: ‘Our gatherings always started in a sedate manner but rarely finished that way. At work she was always very professional but she knew how to enjoy herself.’

Linda retired in 2009, but returned as a part-time Band 5 nurse until 2012, in the short-stay unit at the hospital she knew so well.

Linda’s commitment to the Rotary Club embodied her practical and caring qualities. As president of the Oswestry and Borderlands branch, her leadership skills were much appreciated. Her family, Rotarian colleagues and the hospital were proud to support her in her work on Mercy Ships, where she spent 3 months in Benin in 2009 and a month in Sierra Leone in 2011. 

She enjoyed the company of younger volunteers, and also kept them in order. In recognition, the Rotary Club presented her with the Paul Harris Award.

Saying goodbye 

In what was to be the last phase of Linda’s life, the next generation of her family, Beatrice, Rose and Finnegan, were only able to enjoy their exceptional grandmother for too short a time.

So it was, in contrast to those early days in Fulham, a very large gathering joined Linda’s family in June 2016 to say goodbye and remember all the happy times.

The many tributes were summed up by one of her oldest friends: ‘A kinder, more caring and fun person I've yet to meet.’

About the authors

Barbara Horsman (nee Hauser) and Jacky Bright (nee Houghton) were fellow nursing students in the 2+1 scheme at Charing Cross Group of Hospitals from 1969–1971.