My name is Maurice Cohen and although I have never met Linda McAvon I have been a long term admirer of her work. It is for this reason that I felt that this website should remain online as a tribute to the hard work she has carried out on behalf of not only the people of Barnsley but those of the whole of Europe too.
I was born in Barnsley in 1947, the son of parents who came to Britain from France in 1940. My parents were grateful for the many kindnesses that they were shown by the people of Barnsley and they soon built up a successful small textiles business in the town, employing a few full and part time workers. Eventually I followed them into business in 1965.
All that was thrown into the melting pot when mine closures began in the 1980s and many hard working people were thrown out of work. Like many businesses in Barnsley we went through hard times as trade declined and we were almost brought to our knees financially during the 1984 miner's strike. We shared these problems with most of our neighbours though, and it was really sad to see so many families riven by disputes over the strike.
Linda McAvon was not the only person who has worked so hard since those days to put Barnsley back on it's feet financially but she was a major influence in building the town back up again after the closure of the pits, and then the decline of steel manufacturing in South Yorkshire. I, and many others, shall always be grateful to her.
Maurice Cohen, February 2021