The Bridge Interviews
Lady Sylvia McLintock
Last month The Bridge went to meet Sylvia McLintock at her home in Burford to hear about her time in the area to which she has contributed so much over the last 30 years. She tells us that she and her late husband, Alan, knew the Burford area a long time ago. He served near here during the Second World War, and she first came here with friends in the late 1940s. When they married in 1955 they decided that they would one day like to live here. They managed to fulfil this ambition in 1983 and the house they found was in Fulbrook. Fulbrook was a very lively place and she and Alan enjoyed making many friends. Later on Sylvia helped to research a paper on the history of the village.
Lady McLintock recalls that Burford was much quieter when she first came here. There were far fewer visitors and much less traffic. She recalls with affection some of the long-established shops which no longer exist such as the gallery owned by Muriel Beach-Thomas, Belinda and The House of Simon.
Sylvia was active in working for a number of charities and she was appointed as High Sheriff of Oxfordshire for 2001. One of the themes of her shrieval year was “Arts in Oxfordshire”. Hilary Tadman Robins had just produced Benjamin Britten’s “Noye’s Fludde” in Burford Church with great success. Sylvia and Hilary decided to set up the Burford Festival, of which Sylvia was chairman for the first six years. Running a festival was a very steep learning curve and Sylvia derives enormous pleasure from the way so many Burfordians contributed over the years to making the festival the success it has become.
Sir Alan McLintock was a chartered accountant and was senior partner of the firm of Thomson McLintock, founded by his grandfather. (It later became part of the giant accounting practice KPMG). He held many other roles including being chairman of the Woolwich Building Society and the Ecclesiastical Insurance Office, and did a great deal of work for the Church of England. It was for this work that he was awarded a knighthood. He played the organ in Fulbrook church and was senior churchwarden at the time when Richard Coombs was appointed as vicar of the Burford benefice.
After Alan’s death in 2007 Sylvia had to say farewell to Westhall Manor and its lovely walled garden and she moved across the Windrush to Burford where she has continued to play an active role in the community as well as being visited by her four children and ten grandchildren.
Sylvia is now 86 (although she looks much younger) and has decided to move to a more manageable home in Witney. She will miss Burford and her many friends in the town, but is determined to keep in touch with them. We wish her every happiness in her new home.