TinaCortina's Blog

Musings of a Tgirl

The Lovely Linda

It is a long time since I wrote a blog and in that I have been rather remiss.  I probably have lots of things to blog about but it is fitting that my first blog back should be about the lovely Linda Bryant, founder of Fabuliss (of which I have written many times) along with her husband Mark/Natasha.  Linda sadly died around 6 weeks ago after a very brave fight against that most horrible of diseases the big C.

I don’t think that Natasha would begrudge the fact that Linda was the driving force behind Fabuliss, but they both made it what it was.  Not only a safe haven for tranny tgirls to meet up in an area which is fairly short on such places, that is Liphook in Hampshire (we have Surrey Swans near Aldershot thanks historically to Billie Piper & wife Kathie, nothing in Guildford, the Mayflower Club offers various activities around Basingstoke,  otherwise you need to go 30 miles South to Portsmouth, Southampton and beyond or 30 miles North or East), but they made it into a destination for tgirls to meet up and talk, on a regular monthly basis, in a location namely the Millennium Hall in Liphook, that has a bar area as nice as any pub and a large auditorium that aside from our own functions fulfills the roll of anything from theatre/cinema to local school dances.

Linda used it for a variety of purposes, one of which was a trade fair offering the discerning tgirl everything she might want from corsets and wedding cakes (which she herself offered and below she is looking lovely in one of her own, showing off her lovely cakes) to wedding/prom dresses, lingerie to jewellery, wigs to boobs to the highest of high heels, make-up and dressing services.  You name it, Linda had contacted local and some far-off businesses to come and show their products with no guarantee of any great sales, but the trade fairs were repeated and many came back.  That was the drive of Linda.

Or she might organise a photo-shoot opportunity; or the local Police Liaison officer; or a dance with disco; or burlesque dancers; or magical singers; or most impressively of all she organised the fabulous Miss Fabuliss competition, giving the opportunity to 20+ girls to shunt their stuff, be interviewed. photographed and have genuinely wonderful experience (and not counting the prizes).  I tell you it the girls loved it.  I never participated but I am happy to say that with my wife Ann-Maria, we had the honour of being judges to the 2010 competition, which was a real highlight in my life.

And you always knew that approximately every other month we would have the ‘quiet’ chill-out evenings.  I think in honesty these were the favourites for the regulars.  It was like going to the pub and spending the evening chatting to a gang of your favourite ‘mates’ in this case ‘tgirls’.  We often had around 40-50 to these chill-out nights, perhaps a hard core of 20-30 that tried to make it every time, a few more that could make it less regularly and always a few new girls.   It was such a relaxed atmosphere that many girls came with their wives/ partners.  And I am pleased to say that my wife came on occasion with me and felt totally at ease.

We had 3 fabulous years of Fabuliss and for that I am grateful.  In that time Linda was always there for us as large as life; a welcome and a chat on the door; always happy to talk at length with new girls to put them at their ease, or to pose for photos with the regulars.  There was absolutely no profit to be made from us.  She just loved to be among us, to encourage us and to provide that ‘home-from-home’.

I have to say that throughout she was nobly supported (and more) by her husband Mark, who of course was the beautiful Natasha that we came to know and love.  Her efforts were also unstinting.  She always provided the perfect back-drop to the bar area or auditorium area, background (or disco) music and lighting to create the perfect ambience.   She also created a beautiful website which sadly is no more (such a shame!).  The two of them organised everything to the last detail, the email reminders, the sign-in book, the welcome, the bar and food, the entertainment, the raffle tickets.  Just thinking back on the number of raffle tickets I bought (£1 a ticket/ £5 a book), I just wonder at how often I won and was able to choose a really nice top or dress, let alone the make-up, perfume, choc or wine offers.  They were really well run……. and the beauty of all Fabuliss events, they were run profit free.  Any spare went into the next event.  You just knew, as with many people who contribute their time to such activities that they were only thinking of you.

Which I suppose brings me back to her sad death, far too young at the age of 60….  leaving behind a loving and grieving family, sons and daughters, grandchildren and more.  What can you say?  Why is it that someone who puts so much in to the world should be pulled out so totally before their time.

Linda died on 11 October and the remembrance service was at Chichester Crematorium on the 20th.  Typical to the last she had insisted that any tgirls she had met should be invited and if they were comfortable to appear dressed.  It was a lovely service.  Mark spoke beautifully about the love that had bound her together and mentioned many of his abiding memories.  A granddaughter spoke of her love and memories.  The congregation was let us say mixed.  There was the family old and young.  And we (t)girls, many with partners.  I shed quite a few tears that day and often think back to the qualities that she had.  I know Mark/ Natasha and the whole family are still coming to terms with their dreadful loss but I do feel she went not without creating some sparkle in this world.

After the service, we drove 20 miles back to the Millennium Hall, again her wishes;  around 25-30 of those that knew her from Fabuliss and of course the family.  You might think that an odd combination, but in reality there were totally no problems.  Some of us mixed, some stayed apart but either way no matter.  We were there to celebrate the life a very brave woman who had been a loving force to all her family and the driving force that had brought so many of the tgirls together.  She was a very special person and while I have written this from the Fabuliss perspective, I want also to re-iterate that the qualities she showed to us, were recognised and more in everything she did.

Linda, I remember you now.  I think I will remember you always for the positive influence that you had on my life.  May you rest in peace!

And in the special words of the remembrance service:  “To live on in the hearts of those you love, is not to die”

Hugs Tina xx

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December 1, 2011 - Posted by | fabuliss, musings of a tgirl | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. Just the most lovely way to write about a fabulous lady – brought tears – she was a very special person and I loved the way we all celebrated her life at the ceremony. You have put together an amazing resume into what she meant to you and how others enjoyed all that was organised. Linda also organised a series of meetings for partners of the tg community so that we could (rg’s or whatever the title should be) air our concerns and needs. I was part of this and really appreciated the extra time she put into doing this on top of the Fabuliss gatherings. Natasha also made all of the evenings special with her ability to inject an air fun and good times into the crowd and was so obvious that they had a relationship that was so special. All I can end this with is that I am so proud of my Tina for putting together a wonderful tribute to Linda. Iknow how much you thought of of Linda and how much you enjoyed your times at Fabuliss. Tina love you lots and glad you have put this post together xx

    Comment by amg | December 1, 2011 | Reply

  2. It truly is sad to lose someone before their time but I am sure you and everyone who met her are richer for the experience. Any time someone who is supportive of our community dies we all lose as little even if we have never met them. I share your loss and my thoughts and prayers are with you sand her family.
    Hugs
    Susan

    Comment by susanmiller64 | December 2, 2011 | Reply

  3. What a lovely epitaph you have written here Tina for somebody who was apparently such a nice person and well loved. I never knew the lady nor anything about Fabuliss but it seems they meant so much to many people. It must seem so empty now without them both. I hope Natasha is coping with the loss too. Thank you for sharing this with us Tina.

    Shirley Anne xxx

    Comment by Shirley Anne | December 3, 2011 | Reply

  4. Since finding your blog, I have followed your Fabuliss events, enviously enjoying the tales of so much fun; admiring all the photographs, here and on Flickr. As Susan said, we all lose a little when one of our community dies. I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting her in person, but she was written about in glowing words, long before her sad death, so I feel I knew her spirit, if not in person. I think you have written a beautiful post for her.

    Hugs,

    Anna xx

    Comment by Anna Arendt | December 16, 2011 | Reply

  5. Thankyou A-M, Susan, Shirley Anne and Anna, . There are those amongst us that are truly gracious, they accept life for what is, people for who they are and always leave a room brighter than when they entered it. The strange thing about this thing we do is that you do meet some of the finest people and Linda was indeed one of them. Hugs Tina x

    Comment by TinaCortina | December 20, 2011 | Reply


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