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Monday, 20 April, 1998, 08:26 GMT 09:26 UK
'The kindest person on Earth'
Linda McCartney
This photograph was taken last week and released when the family announced that Linda McCartney had died
Tributes to Lady Linda McCartney emerged almost instantly after the news of her death broke. They came from her close friends, such as Carla Lane, from the charities and groups that she campaigned for and from many others, including the British Prime Minister, who had never met her but felt her life had made a difference to theirs.

Television comedy writer Carla Lane spoke of the commitment to animals that she and Linda shared: "We knew that people called us loonies and cranks and we didn't mind," she said.

"We decided that we would try and make the world respectable. And she was fun-loving and kind. The kindest person on earth was Linda."

Conductor Carl Davis, who helped Sir Paul write his first classical work, said Linda's help had been invaluable. "She was a benign influence like a fairy," he said. "She had an enormous loyalty to Paul and a devotion not just for him personally but in developing his work."

Pauline Marsden, wife of the singer Gerry from Gerry and The Pacemakers, said: "I'm absolutely devastated. Gerry and I had known her for years. We used to see her all the time. It's unbelievable. We all thought she had got over it. She was such a lovely lady. Paul really adored her."

The film director Sir David Putnam asked the audience at the British Academy (Bafta) awards ceremony, in London, to give a standing ovation to Linda.

He described his friend as "A remarkable woman who was half of a remarkable marriage who brought up some remarkable children. Everything she did with life was positive."

The Vegetarian Society issued a statement saying: "Linda was a visionary. She had a vision of a world that would not involve itself willingly in the suffering of animals.

"She was a figurehead for the most significant dietary movement this century and the vegetarian movement will miss her dearly.

"Her contribution to vegetarianism was tremendous, driven by a love for animals. Linda was dedicated to preventing animals from suffering, she was acutely aware that the only way to do this was to stop eating them.

"Linda had a passion and a desire to change people's attitudes, to create a world that was kinder to animals and the environment."

The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, said he had never met Linda but admired the difference she had made. He said he and his wife Cherie were very saddened for Sir Paul and his family.

"Linda showed extraordinary courage throughout her illness," he said.

"She was someone who made a tremendous contribution across a whole range of British life."

Mrs Blair, who had planned to meet Linda, added her own tribute. "Everyone has been inspired by the courage she showed throughout her illness.

"She showed that courage by continuing to lead as full a life as her illness permitted and by coping with the changes it meant for her and her family.

"As such she brought comfort to women everywhere suffering from this awful trauma, and women who suffer from breast cancer in the future will also be able to draw some comfort from her courage.

"We were hoping to meet at the Assem (Asia-Europe Meeting) summit, because Paul's Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts were involved but she was not able to make it.

"We agreed at that time that the four of us would have dinner when she got back from the States.

"Tony and I are really sorry for Paul and the children. I know they were totally devoted to her."

DJ Mike Read said: "It's a family tragedy because Paul and Linda were terribly, terribly close to each other, clearly, and were rarely from each others' sight. It will be devastating for him and the family.

"It was one of those marriages that worked and their family unit always seemed so strong."

The League Against Cruel Sports said: "Linda worked tirelessly on behalf of hunted animals, sometimes in a very public capacity, sometimes very quietly behind the scenes.

"Her tragic death will leave a feeling of great sadness with all those who oppose hunting."

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Chris Dessent of the Vegetarian Society: "She helped change people's perceptions."
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19 Apr 98 | UK
Obituary: Linda McCartney
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