Linda Grant, 54, is the new Guiding Country Comissioner for Sheffield. She was born in the dining room of her parents’ house at their plant nursery in Bradway, went to King Ecgbert School and spent a year exploring ways of increasing food production and breeding daffodils in Cornwall. Linda met husband Neil at Wittle Agricultural College when she borrowed a yellow crayon in their soil science lecture. They got engaged at college and returned to Sheffield to help her parents sell their Bradway nursery, then take over the old Whitethornes nursery at Coal Aston, now Ferndale, in 1982. Two years later, Linda’s sister, Helen, joined them as the third director. Linda’s role includes gift buying, administration and finance. Outside work, she loves dog walking, reading, cooking and, of course, Guiding. Linda and Neil live at Beauchief.
I joined the Girls Life Brigade run by my mum at Totley Methodist when Brownie and Guide units were few and far between. In my teens, I became a Ranger and started running my own Rainbow unit when our daughter asked me to help in the late 80s. I have run Brownies, Guide units, worked with the Senior Section girls and been both District and Division Commissioner. My highlight is taking the girls to one of the four world Guiding centres in Mexico last summer. I have also visited the Swiss centre twice, been to India, but strangely, never to the fourth world centre in London!
There are such lovely walks at Longshaw. I have five different regular routes: Padley Gorge, Carl Wark, Whitemoor- always ending up at the Longshaw café! I take my mum quite a lot for a delicious scone with jam, clotted cream AND butter- and selling 24,000 scones a year at Ferndale, I think I can justifiably call myself something of an expert! I also love their banana cake. The last time I ate outside, two deer walked just in front of us.
The view from my sofa
I spend an awful lot of time here when I’m allowed to! I can see right across to Totley Moors, where I watch the heather changing colour, and across the top of Ladies Spring Wood to Ecclesall Woods.
In late May, the scent of bluebells in Ecclesall Woods is breathtaking. You can be overwhelmed by the sea of dark blue in front of you. As a child, I just took it for granted, but the colour is just amazing. I love walking the dog around the woods and meeting other dog owners .
I became a Christian when I was pregnant with James in 1983 and my life has been different ever since. I came to know God through Greenhill Methodist Church where my mum became a Christian in 1976. Aside from the amazing worship and teaching, I have to say my very best friends are from the church. They have been there for us through our ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies, tears and smiles.
This is such a terrific age. I find girls aged five to seven are full of beans and will have a go at anything. Helping them and watching them grow and develop is amazing. We do things they don’t get to do in school now the curriculum is so controlled – craft work like making a pom pom chicken for Easter to simply learn how to use scissors. On one hand, we find modern girls are so much more self- assured and opinionated then we were in our youth. On the other hand, they are not as good at sharing and basic skills, such as cutting out. Our role as leaders is to encourage them, helping them learn to make decisions, work together and plan.
I still love plants and I miss having my hands on them every day at Ferndale now I do more of the administrative side. There’s nothing quite as magical as walking into a beautiful garden. We went to Chelsea last summer where the Royal Horticultural Society gave us tickets to see the gardens and meet the designers. It inspired me to take so many ideas home.
One Favourite Thing outside my home city? We have had our family holidays in Anglesey for 45 years at my mum and dad’s chalet. I never tire of the view across the sea to Great Orme one way and the Irish Sea the other. I ‘unruckle’ by slowing down and walking the dog and popping in to The Bull in Beaumaris for a delicious meal. We have a saying, ‘By the sea, all your worries wash away’. Of course, the only thing Sheffield lacks…