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The Profile - Linda Downward, Territorial Envoy for the Salvation Army

By Kerry.Ashdown  |  Posted: May 04, 2014

Linda Downward

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Age: 53

Home town/village: Silverdale, Newcastle under Lyme

Family: Both of my parents died while I was in my 20s but I consider myself blessed to have had two loving parents throughout my formative years. I have four brothers so spent much of my childhood being teased and when the opportunity allows this habit of their still persists. 

I am married to Derek and we have three grown up children, two daughters and one son. Our daughters have given us 4 grandsons, whom we adore. Ryan is our child by choce; he is 11 years old and has lived with us for the last 7 years.

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Car: Our cars have always been practical the first car I had (33 years ago) was a yellow Cortina Estate, which I loved, I felt I could turn it on a pin. By the time it went to the scrap yard it had so many shades of yellow paint on it, it looked like a patchwork quilt.  We now drive a Vauxhall Zafria

Music: In this role and also by choice I listen to a lot of Christian music, I also enjoy soul music

Hobbies:  Walking and Swimming, given half a chance

Newspaper: These days I rarely get the opportunity to sit down with a newspaper and keep up with current affairs through listening to the "Today" programme on Radio 4, so when I do read a paper it would be a local paper which will tell me something which is relevant to where I am.

Holiday destination: Booking a holiday is on my "to do" list.  This year has been so busy I have had little time to think of holidays.  A few weeks ago we went to Butlins Minehead, "Springharvest" event,.  This is a christian holiday week and we thoroughly enjoyed this. 


Food and drink: Coffee and chocolate easily my favourites - together preferably. 

Book: This is pitiful fact but I haven't picked up a book to read for pleasure since beginning this role. I spend certain times of the week surrounded by books for research but this is a different type of reading. When able I enjoy a good mystery novel or biography if it is someone I admire.

Love/Hate  I love being with people but hate it when people won't take to time to consider what it is like to walk in another's shoes!


What was your childhood like?

We all have edited memories of our childhood and mine is quiet a distance away from me now. Through many of my childhood years our family struggled financially. My dad, a miner, had a pit accident when I was six years old and though he tried to get back to work over the next couple of years he was never able to sustain employment again. We lived on a miners' estate I remember. Our neighbours were very supportive and we would open the door to bags of clothes, this would always fill me with excitement. It was like Christmas, you would never know what would come out.


What was your first job?

I had a Saturday job as a shop assistant.


How did you get involved with the Salvation Army?  

My sister in law, Kay, was a soldier at Longton Salvation Army, together we visited The Salvation Army at Newcastle under Lyme. I enjoyed the company and the love people shared there but most of all I was attracted by the idea that The Salvation Army is Christian Mission reaching people with the heart of Jesus and doing this with a strong social conscience, trying to alleviate poverty and fight against inequality.   


What brought you to Stafford?  

My appointment to move to Stafford came through in late October of last year. I began my work here on 28th November, at first commuting in from Newcastle.  We moved into the house which goes with the role on January 4, so Ryan was able to start his new school at the beginning of the term. But overriding all of this is my calling to be a Salvation Army officer, when you feel deep within that God has a place for you and you need to follow His lead, you can only feel true contentment in placing yourself where He asks you to go. 


How does the Salvation Army serve the Stafford community? First and foremost we are a Mission for Jesus so our Worship Meetings on Sundays and midweek are essential. Our children's work is an important part of what we do. We like to have our doors open as often as possible.  We find people come in on the off chance when they are searching, we like to be there at the point of need. We do advice, support, signposting, food parcels for those in need and always have a supply of blankets and sleep-bags for those on the streets. We feel the most important thing which we can and do offer is prayer.  


What are you most proud of? 

My family.


Do you have any regrets?

No because even when I have got things wrong it has all lead me to this point.


What are your future aims and ambitions?  

Gosh this sounds very quaint but really it is to see heaven on earth.

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