When Linda Hartley was paralysed she thought her teaching career was over.
But with the support of her family and colleagues, she bravely returned to her beloved job as a food technology teacher at Morecambe Community High School.
Now as Linda’s four decades at Morecambe High come to an emotional end, she has reflected on how the school helped her get back to work during such a difficult time.
The mum-of-two, who retires on Friday after 40 years of teaching at the school, lost the use of her legs in January 2008 due to a spinal condition called Transverse Myelitis.
“When it happened eight and a half years ago, a big thing for me was that I came back to work,” said Linda.
“When I was in hospital I thought I would never go back.
“But the school was very supportive and I realised I could do the things I used to do, but in a different way.”
Morecambe High was Linda’s first and only teaching job.
Herself a former pupil at the school, she began in the role in 1976.
She taught cookery and needlework – then known as Home Economics – in the Housecraft block. In fact she has taught kids to cook in the same two kitchen classrooms for the entire 40 years and joked that she was proud there have been no major fires during her lessons in all that time!
Highlights of Linda’s career include meeting the Queen at a school technology event on the Promenade when Her Majesty came to officially unveil the Eric Morecambe Statue in 1999, and working with her pupils on dining events outside school, such as with Morecambe FC and Lancaster and Morecambe College.
In retirement she intends to carry on her charity work raising money for the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA). Earlier this month she took part in a 10K run in London in her wheelchair pushed by husband Stephen.
Her fundraising saw her nominated for a Visitor Sunshine Award this year and for an SIA award in 2013, when she also appeared on ITV show Daybreak.
She will also be guest of honour at a party to mark her retirement at Carnforth Ex-Servicemen’s Club on July 30. Many of her past pupils will attend and it will be an emotional occasion for Linda.
“I’ve absolutely loved working at Morecambe High,” she said.
“I’ve met lots of people and the kids have been amazing.”
Former pupils are welcome to attend Linda’s retirement party on July 30.
For details please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or go to the Facebook page ‘Linda Hartley’s 40 Year Celebration and Reunion’.