LEIGH’S very own “Banksy” has been lauded by Royalty after she paid tribute to Prince Philip in one of her many magical postbox toppers.

Linda Catling, 74, started making hats for the postbox three doors down from her home on Marine Parade at the beginning of lockdown.

She’s now made 18 toppers - one of which has been given to Princess Anne, the Princess Royal.

Princess Anne has now sent Linda a card and letter to her home, thanking her for the touching tribute made to her father, Prince Philip.


Linda said: “Someone knocked on my door and asked if I wanted the tribute to Prince Philip to go to Princess Anne as they were going to see her to give their condolences.

“It was such a shock.

“He came and collected it and then she sent me a letter and a card thanking me.

“It was very exciting.”

Linda lost sight in one of her eyes at the start of the pandemic and feared she may not be able to knit again.

Linda added: “It’s helped me while I’ve been shielding.

“I didn’t think I’d be able to make anything again.

“I really feel as though I’ve achieved something and it’s something for the community.

“I’m just a little pensioner doing a bit of knitting and I can’t believe the response.

“It’s given me a new lease of life.”

Her latest postbox topper has been designed to raise awareness of speeding.

Linda warned it “won’t be long before someone gets seriously injured” as she insists residents are “desperate” for something to be done.

Linda’s now planning ahead to the next hat, where she says she will make a piece dedicated to the Queen for her official birthday next month.

Thanking everyone for their support, Linda said: “On Saturday someone knocked on my door and with flowers and a thank you card.

“I appreciate all the wonderful notes and letters I have had through my door and all the lovely comments on Facebook. They keep me going.”

Linda is now raising money for Southend in Sight to thank them for their support.