We want to pay tribute to Stephanie Longson, Trustee at The Linking Network. Sadly, after a short illness with cancer, Steph died on 2nd December, 2020. Steph was a friend, a mentor, a trustee, a guiding voice to The Linking Network and we really miss her. She engaged Stockport Council in Schools Linking in 2008 and stayed on the journey from that point on, becoming a trustee in 2015. As a trustee she brought so many professional skills, including wisdom and fresh vision, which were highly valued. Schools Linking remains strong in Stockport today; a product of Stephanie’s vision for the local authority she so passionately served. She deeply understood the importance of exploring identity and the power of connecting with others. She knew the work needed to be in school in the curriculum. She was courageous. She brought joy, kindness, wisdom and sound judgement and she leaves a lasting legacy in how we work and what we do as a network and we are so grateful for her.
Steph was always an advocate for work in schools on identity, equality, community. We wanted to share here just one of the many things she wrote.
‘The more I read, heard and learned about the potential power of schools linking, the more I became convinced that this would be good for schools and communities in Stockport. Finally, here was something of depth, something that would help children and adults to explore who they were, who others were and to find value and respect in both. Schools Linking offered a structure to support powerful learning experiences for both children and adults and I believed that Stockport needed to invest in such a programme. The impact on our teachers in Stockport has been liberating. The impact on children has been powerful, joyful and life changing.’
We know we will all have our own memories of Steph, here are some quotes from others in the Network about Steph.
‘I remember Steph as someone with a quiet and thoughtful wisdom whose presence and modesty were an example and an inspiration.’
‘Steph was a highly valued TLN Trustee and I know how much she contributed to the great success of the Network over so many years. I will miss seeing her at meetings and as a great source of wisdom and experience. She has left a wonderful legacy.’
‘Stephanie was such a smiley, welcoming person who had a very calming presence.’
‘Steph was tremendous. Her enthusiasm and joy in TLN has always been evident. And more than that, she was a lovely human being. TLN is such a special organisation. It’s a place where people (children, teachers and others) are nurtured and given a voice. Support feels like it is at the heart of everything you do. Steph has been a part of creating that and it is an amazing legacy to have.’
I will always remember Steph and her quiet demeanour, passion for raising achievement for all and her commitment to the linking schools concept. She inspired me – I hope her family know that her influence transcended her immediate circle.
A Service of Thanksgiving for her Stephanie’s life was held at Poynton Baptist Church, on 16th December 2020 and it can be watched here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ft961mS9Jqc
Those of you that knew Steph, may like to visit Steph’s website on the Caring Bridge