Linda Hines

Interviewee: Linda Hines MBE
Born: 1951, Erdington, Birmingham, England
Interviewer: Pupils from Year Six, Oasis Academy, Short Heath
Date of Interview: 11/02/2013 

Quiet childhood, living in an old house on Gravelly Lane, back of pavement, beside traffic lights

Osborne Road Junior and Infants School, being shy but mixing with other children 

Passing the 11+ and attending Kingsbury Road Grammar School; favourite subjects, teachers, and being bullied between classes 

Leaving school aged sixteen, first job at Sainsbury’s, meeting future husband who worked in the store as a butcher; engaged at eighteen and married at twenty 

Getting the MBE, receiving a letter from the Prime Minister in November 2008; announcement in The Times

Demolition of houses in Perry Common; husband becomes disabled

A lonely time away in Telford, and then returning to Perry Common in 1977; not involved with local community as too shy

Getting involved with residents association in 1991 when Perry Common homes to be demolished; growing in confidence, dealing with professional people like planners and architects; setting up new projects, 2004 Perry Common Community Watch addresses anti-social behaviour resulting from boarded up houses, featured on TV’s Panorama programme 

Setting up a community choir “Ring of Sound” for people who wouldn’t normally join a choir, and Duckling Watch – wildlife patrols by residents aged from 2 years to 91 years of age

Lessons learnt on speaking to people with respect, example of tackling youths who were damaging a tree. Chairing local police meetings 

908 homes in Perry Common to be demolished and then the idea of community ownership; setting up of Witton Lodge Community Association (which Linda now chairs), which owns 167 properties, oversees new building programme, and allocates homes 

How Perry Common got its name; connections with Oscott College, 1000 council homes built on College land in the 1920s – problems with the homes and layout of roads 

Coping with death of husband. His legacy includes dedication of Sycamore Court, an extra care scheme of 40 homes under one roof

Meeting Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace to receive an MBE 

The new Linda emerged when she was told her house was to be demolished; helping others and making the most of every day

Full Interview