Above: Linda pictured 20-25 years ago at Stoodley Pike.

Below: Astronomy Centre 


Linda Simonian

It was while living in Hebden Bridge as a single mother that Linda decided on her career in Astronomy. At a time when a university education was still quite rare, Linda studied for A levels while bringing up her two daughters and then spent three years in London at university.

Not only was she instrumental in founding the Astronomy Centre between Tod and Bacup, but she was a highly respected astronomer, lecturer and environmentalist. She shared her passion for wildlife, nature and the universe with people all over the country.

Her family have said, "Be it a flower, a tree or a person, if Linda touched it, it would blossom. There are very few people in this world to whom the words 'truly inspirational' could be applied, people who are able to make a positive meaningful contribution to life on this pllanet."

Linda died suddenly at home on 9th June 2006 from heart attack at the age of fifty-five. She still had so much more to give.



From David Flack
Saturday, 11 July 2015

Just learned of the passing of Linda. She oversaw my tutoring for the GCSE Astronomy correspondence course I took way back in 1990. She was a very patient and skilled Teacher, and thanks to her I achieved an 'A'.

I never met her personally, but from the photos and tributes I have seen, she was a lovely person. A bit late I know, Condolences and best wishes to her Family and Many Friends. R.I.P.

From: Philip Benson
Thursday, 24 April 2014

I first met up with Linda, Peter and others when I attended the AAC back in the early 80s. Although living in Essex my parents are both Lancashire born and so we took regular holidays to the area.

Soon after joining the AAC, and just a year out of school, I enrolled on the GCE O level Astronomy course that Linda offered and through this I easily achieved a grade A through her wonderful and inspiring teaching. Beyond that I went on to take her advanced astronomy course. Still to this day I have all the notes from those courses and I will keep and treasure those in her memory.

I only recently read of her death back in 2006 and this saddened me deeply. She will forever be in my memory both as the wonderful person she was and as someone who inspired so many in the subject of astronomy that she loved.

From: John G Keegan
Wednesday, 14 August 2013

There is now a Facebook page celebrating Linda's life and work.

From Steve M
Friday, 20 January 2012

Seeing Stargazing Live this week reignited my interest in astronomy and took me back to my teens when I was in the first (I think?) cohort to do GCSE astronomy by correspondence with Linda as tutor. What an inspiration she was - supportive, constructively critical, formidably knowledgeable. I decided to look her and the AAC up again - what a shock to hear that the world had been deprived of her so tragically young. Thank you, Linda, for a wonderful year of drawing star charts, building sundials, and other exciting things that I still have now.

From Mick and Jean
Sunday, 25 July 2010

Dear Linda, already four years since you departed this life, how quickly all our mortal lives pass; and yours, far too soon. I can't believe I haven't written, on this site, of Linda before. She had been so much a part of our lives, from the time we became friends in the early seventies; I guess I felt that others had said what needed to be said, and so much better.

We spent so many happy times together, we shared countless meals and evenings, we went through life's crises and conflicts and triumphs, always supporting each other; we watched each others' children grow to amazing adulthood, and we loved each other as deepest friends. We were distraught at her death, and we miss her dearly. Still she lives, though, sometimes, in our dreams, and she will never be forgotten.

From Maggie
Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Such a patient teacher, such a giving person.
Still miss you & always will.

From Bev Williams
Friday, 2 October 2009

Too soon, dear friend, too soon.
Happy memories

From Jim Clancy
Sunday, 29 July 2007


Peace love and happiness to one and all

Goodbye to you the rarest of flowers.
Goodbye to you and the quite voice in the crowed
Goodbye to you and the compassion you showed
Goodbye to you and the sneak smile and neat crinkled nose
Goodbye to you and the spark in your eyes
Goodbye to you and the talks that will stay in our minds
Goodbye to you and the hugs we’ll continue to feel.
Goodbye dear Linda to mother earth you go
Where flowers from your inner beauty will grow and grow
Goodbye dear Linda for we must get off on our away home.
Good bye Slante Leat
Jim C.

From Len Townsend
Sunday, 8 July 2007

A true shining light. Linda will be missed by everyone!

From John G Keegan
Monday, 4 June 2007

Linda was a most remarkable woman. I am proud to have been her friend, partner, and husband. I am grateful for the kind words and thoughts expressed here (and elsewhere) for this wonderful lady.

Linda's positive influence of so many people will ensure that her name and work will live on for many years to come. I hope to present some of Linda's achievements on the AstroMuse website soon.

Dear Linda, Love Always, JK.

From Nettie
Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Linda took me under her wing when I was a teenager and made me who I am today. Memories of Hale Bopp, observing the moons of Jupiter with the astrocat and JK on his guitar. You were the best friend I ever had Linda...

From Stephanie Beattie
Thursday, September 21, 2006

I was so shocked and saddened to hear today of Linda's death and my heart goes out to John and her family.
I never met Linda but contacted her as an Astrology student who wanted to study Astronomy GCSE at the same time.
Despite being a mature student of 48 (who wasn't allowed to sit her Maths 'O' level all those years ago because she was so bad at it) Linda's tremendous encouragement and patience got me through with a B grade. No mean feat..But through her help and encouragement Linda gave me so much more than a B grade. She gave me the confidence to go on and try other things. Thank you.

From Tracy and Kenny
Sunday, September 17, 2006

Memories of a lovely lady.

Our daughter Ashley used to attend one of the Saturday activity clubs run by John and Linda. She was always eager to pass on what she had learnt (in a fun way).

When she did her project on the solar system at school I've no doubt she got top marks due to the valued help she received from the "real astronomers"!!!!

My only regret is that I didn't spend the time getting to know Linda better. I can only say that I know she made a big difference to my Uncle John's life and I had never seen him as happy. Her resting place is so fitting, just sorry she went to it so early.

Keep up the good work John, keeping her memory alive.
Love from Tracy and Kenny x

From Jacqueline Pattison
Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Linda was the nicest person you could wish to meet. She was kind considerate and I was privileged to be her sister-in-law. I also saw the difference she made to my brother, they were so happy and content and were about to start a new part of their life both having retired. Their plans and dreams shattered by her death, but she will never be forgotten. She was a wonderful person and friend.

From Brian Kemp
Saturday, August 26, 2006

Astronomy GCSE exam

Yesterday, I was delighted to open a GCSE result for grade B in Astronomy. I took the course where I posted work to Linda and was about to write a letter and thank her for marking my work.

I have just read the sad news of her heart attack on this website and would like to say thank you to this lady via this message. Although I never met Linda, I am very grateful for her correspondence for preparing for my exam. I am sad to hear what has happened to her and wish her family all the best. I am most grateful for her assistance and wish the planetary centre all the best.

Brian Kemp

From Julie Cockburn
Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Linda's smile, lighting up the room, infectious laugh, a wonderful Mum. I didn't know much about being a Mum, I watched and learned from the two Linda's (Simonian and Milnes) both gone now. Wish you'd stuck around with all your warmth and energy and enthusiasm. Last time I saw Linda was Bryn's funeral, a chance for one of those occasional catch ups its a shock to realise she's dead. One of the old crew, the founder-mothers of Hebden Bridge as we know it, Linda.

From Chris Ratcliffe,
Tuesday, June 20, 2006

One memory I have of Linda is when a whole crowd of us went camping in Hardcastle Crags, not too far from Blake Dean. It was a summer in the seventies. The children were asleep and we were sitting round the fire. Our friend, Douglas idly looked up at the clear night sky, and started naming the constellations. Linda was totally fascinated. “How do you know all that?” she asked in genuine amazement.  Douglas explained that he had always been interested in astronomy. As this was around thirty years ago, I can’t remember too much more except that Linda’s excitement about the night sky stayed with me. I think she almost immediately started A levels and of course went on to study astronomy at university. When she started the astronomy centre, I often felt a pang of pride that I had been present when Linda first got the spark for the stars.

Thinking back on it all, I wonder whether her success as a young single mother deciding she could go on to higher education (at a time when a university education was still quite rare) helped inspire some of our other friends, also single mums, to think that they too could go on to university or greater things.

Although I hadn’t seen Linda very often recently, I had always expected her to be around, and that we would bump into each and catch up from time to time.