A WOMAN who was well-known and loved for her work within the community of Wharfedale has died.

Linda Anfield, previously Bell and Harrison, was described as a natural mother figure to hundreds of children who went through Whartons School in the early 1980s. She was also an active Conservative and was a champion swimmer in her youth.

Born in Otley, she lived in Pool-In-Wharfedale until she married. In her teenage years she was a keen swimmer and she became the British long distance female swimming champion with a world record time after winning the race across Lake Bala in Wales. She was also the youngest female to complete the course.

She was chosen as one of the contestants on Ilkley versus Otley 'Its a knock out'- one of the first episodes of the iconic TV programme. In the competition she was in a team with her husband Norman Harrison, who later became Lord Mayor of Otley.

During her early married life she was involved with Otley conservative club , standing for the council, but narrowly missing out on the vote, and later helping Otley born MP Stephen Day with his campaigns in Yorkshire and Cheadle. She remained great friends with Mr Day throughout her life.

Linda was president of Otley Young Conservatives and was on the Committee for the Otley Conservatives Association. She was also a governor at Prince Henry’s Grammar School.

Her son Richard Harrison said: "Most people will know my mum for her work with the Whartons youth club which she ran with my father until their divorce. She was involved in many fundraising events and most entertainingly she organised the music shows. She was a natural mother figure to hundreds of children that went through the Whartons School in the early 80’s."

He added: "She also took a personal interest in some of the children who struggled at school and encouraged them to focus on the school work and get themselves an education.

"It was the kids with a difficult home life , often the 'naughty children' that she put most effort into helping."

Richard added:"She spent her working life mainly working at Otley County Court where she got great motivation from helping people who were at their lowest point."

After her divorce Linda moved to Scarborough for a new life with her new husband Mike.

Linda, who was 74 when she died, leaves behind her husband Mike, her daughter Nicola Daniel, her son Richard, and grandchildren Neve Harrison, Harry Daniel, Tom Daniel and Josh Harrison.

In a tribute to Linda former MP Stephen Day said: "She helped me campaign in every one of my local elections in Otley and my parliamentary campaign in Bradford West (1983) when I was Tory Parliamentary candidate there. She campaigned alongside me in the Cheadle constituency general election campaigns in 1987, 1992 and 1997. The only general election she could not campaign in was in 2001, when I lost by 33 votes! No Linda, no win! She was an active member of Otley Conservative Association for many years.

"Most importantly she was one of my oldest friends, going back to our late teens and a very loyal friend indeed, as all the above testifies. She was also a bundle of fun. She made campaigning on a wet, windy, Cheshire day, a joy to experience. She literally was irreplaceable, in every respect. God bless her."