On 8th June 1998 the three surviving members of the Beatles re-unite for the Memorial Service for Paul‘s late wife Linda who died from breast cancer earlier in that year on 17th April at the age of 56. Many other stars turn out to pay tribute to Linda including Elton John, Spike Milligan, Joanna Lumley, Pete Townshend and Sting.
Linda & Paul both became outspoken vegetarian and animal rights activists. They lent their support to many organisations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Council for the Protection of Rural England and Friends of the Earth. She was also a patron of the League Against Cruel Sports.
She is particularly remembered for a heart-felt narration on a TV advertisement for PETA in which she said:
“Have you ever seen a fish gasping for breath when you take it out of the water? They’re saying, ‘Thanks a lot for killing me. It feels great, you know.’ . . . . . No! It hurts!”
Linda McCartney on fishing: “No – it hurts!” Click the picture to see the video on YouTube . . .
A few months after Linda‘s death, the Edinburgh International Film Festival premiered Wide Prairie: a six-minute cartoon fantasy film she made with director Oscar Grillo. A few months later PETA created the Linda McCartney Memorial Award, awarding the first one to Pamela Anderson Lee for her outstanding commitment to animal rights. In April 1999, Paul performed at the Concert for Linda tribute at the Royal Albert Hall. Among the artists that performed, besides Paul, were George Michael, the Pretenders, Elvis Costello and Tom Jones. Paul closed the concert by dedicating the event to Linda (his “beautiful baby”) and all their beautiful children.
In January 2000, Paul announced donations in excess of $2,000,000 for cancer research at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson, where Linda received treatment. The donations, through the Garland Appeal, were made on the condition no animals would be used for testing purposes. Also in 2000, The Linda McCartney Centre, a cancer clinic, opened at The Royal Liverpool University Hospital. In November 2002, the Linda McCartney Kintyre Memorial Trust opened a memorial garden in Campbeltown, the main town in Kintyre, with a bronze statue of her made by sculptor Jane Robbins. The Mull of Kintyre was a favourite retreat for Linda & Paul and was immortalised by Paul who wrote for Wings what turned out to be the best selling single of the ’70s. You can listen to it here on YouTube as sung by Sir Paul himself in 2012.