5th December 2008 at 00:00

Linda Leadbetter, a Falkirk primary headteacher, has died at the age of 54. She had been head of Easter Carmuirs Primary since 2000.

Linda began teaching in 1978 at Abbotsgrange Middle School in Grangemouth. Her subsequent career was spent entirely in schools in the Falkirk area, including a spell during which she was seconded to the technical and vocational education initiative (TVEI) project.

Her diminutive stature was more than compensated for by her large personality; she was well known and respected in the council for her common sense and ability to think laterally, as well as for her down-to-earth sense of humour - her stories were legion and legendary.

Above all, Linda was a champion for Easter Carmuirs Primary and had an extensive knowledge of every child and family whom the school served. No matter a child's circumstances or background, Linda worked tirelessly to ensure that each child would have the same educational opportunities as any other in the school.

Without fuss, she would ensure that the most needy youngster was able to go on the summer residential excursion, for example. Her ability to "persuade" local businesses to donate additional resources for the school (once securing a dozen buckets from a local superstore for the school's eco-committee) was exemplary.

Along with the many colleagues who paid tribute, Julia Swan, Falkirk's director of education services, said: "Linda was dedicated to her job and championed the children and families in her school. Her wisdom, her warmth and her wry sense of humour will most certainly be sorely missed."

Long-time colleague and fellow headteacher Janice Collins said: "Linda was one of the most intelligent people I have known. She was determined to fight for the entitlements of the children in her school."

Linda was also well known for her exotic holidays. While friends and colleagues were flying to Faro, Linda and husband Russell were flying to the Far East, and her postcards were as likely to describe a street scene in Ho Chi Minh City or extol the solicitous nature of the butler (Pounds 150 supplement) in Goa as to report the weather.

Linda will be remembered for always being referred to as just that - "Linda". Her first name on its own instantly chimed with anyone in education services. It was shorthand for her dedication to her work and the respect, affection and high regard in which she was held.

Linda is survived by her husband, Russell, and her daughter, Gail.

Tony Bragg, quality improvement officer, Falkirk Council.

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