A GRIEVING father has told how he has lost his only child, who was ‘everything’ to him.
Norman James has spoken publicly for the first time about losing his daughter Linda Harding, who died aged 59 as a result of her injuries after her pony Flumpy collided with a car as she was out riding on February 8.
Mr James wants people to remember his ‘Lindy-Lou’, from Titchfield Common, as someone devoted to community work and her animals.
The 92-year-old said: ‘On that Tuesday it was a lovely sunny day. She was here and said, “I’ll be back at five. Put the kettle on for then”.
‘That was the last time I saw her.
‘I miss everything about her. I had her for 59 years and now she’s gone. I miss her companionship, her humour, her love, her cooking. There’s not a thing I don’t miss.’
Her cousin Sarah Bannister, who lives in Italy, added: ‘She had a great sense of humour. She would always come out with something irreverent and funny.
‘But she also had the softest heart. She was always trying to save or protect something.’
Linda retired early as the deputy head at Northern Parade Infant School in Hilsea to become her father’s carer.
He said: ‘I was the only immediate family she had – we were each other’s next of kin. She was the only one I’ve had since my wife Marie-Louise died eight years ago.’
She would regularly run the minibus for the local after-school club and was a founder member of the Solent Riding Club.
Mr James, of Warsash, has taken in Linda’s five-year-old black labrador Benji.
‘He wouldn’t come out of his cage for the first few days,’ said Mr James. ‘You could tell he knew Lindy was gone, but he’s getting more like his old self again.’
The funeral will be a private family affair at Portchester Crematorium on Friday at 12.30pm. They have requested family flowers only, but donations can be made to Macmillan Cancer through funeral directors B Matthews on (023) 8044 7965.