Publisher, retailer, founder of The Ladder Club, photographer, wife, mother, grandmother and great friend to many, died peacefully at home last Thursday (June 1) with her family, having lost her hard fought battle with Myeloma, a rare bone marrow cancer, aged 68.
Lynn Tait’s motto was Carpe Diem, meaning ‘seize the day’ and she certainly lived up to that, right to her untimely end. However, her legacy lives on in so many ways, in so many people, in so many businesses and among so many communities.
Lynn had been a card and gift retailer for over 30 years – The Lynn Tait Gallery in Old Leigh-on-Sea, in Essex is testament to Lynn’s individual approach, evident by the tram carriage, Victorian carts and other unexpected ‘props’ which are interspersed among the merchandise.
A draw for locals and tourists alike, she always had something going on in the shop – last year’s Design a Card for the Queen’s 90th Birthday Competition being a case in point, which saw Lynn inspire hundreds of school children to submit entries which were then festooned from the rafters.
Lynn was a postcard and card publisher for many decades too, not only working with some of the world’s best known photographers, notably Charlie Waite (with whom she set up the Waite and Tait card publishing imprint, featuring both their works), Philip Plisson and Tom Wolfe, but also trailblazing the way photographic images can be printed on cards.
While Lynn loved coming up with ideas for her card publishing business (and the spin off art exhibitions it spawned), what she loved even more was helping small publishers, through The Ladder Club. Upset by the fact that so many little publishers disappeared without trace almost as soon as they started, having made mistakes which cost them their business, Lynn was determined to ensure that the common pitfalls were avoided, that a camaraderie was nurtured and that the industry benefitted from a lifeblood of new talent. The annual Ladder Club seminars that Lynn has pioneered over the last two decades (and the bonds that have been made by the attendees) has helped hundreds and hundreds of card publishers to not only get onto the ‘greeting card ladder’ but climb up its rungs.
Even when Lynn discovered she had Myeloma cancer (in 2012) and underwent some grueling treatment, she was forever posting encouraging words of advice onto The Ladder Club Facebook page, made phone calls to those who needed an extra dose of ‘Lynn philosophy’, continued to write her regularly column in Progressive Greetings which inspired and educated in equal measure.
Lynn really was ‘one of a kind’, her generosity of spirit knew no bounds, her pioneering determination was infectious and her love of life, family and friends made her an absolute joy to know.
Lynn would never have been able to do all the wonderful things she did without the support of her lovely husband Andy. She was immensely proud of her four children (Debbie, Ralph, Paul and Daniel) and so enjoyed being ‘team Granny’ with her 13 grandchildren.
In an article she wrote for Myeloma Matters that was published recently, Lynn shared her positive outlook: “I feel so blessed to have had so much life – something many people are denied.”
She also agreed to feature in a film that she hopes will help others suffering from Myeloma help cope with some of the side effects.
Lynn’s funeral will take place on Monday June 12 at St Saviours Church, Kings Road, Westcliff on Sea around 10am. The wake will be held at the nearby Maritime Rooms, in the Cliffs Pavillion, the ‘spiritual home’ of The Ladder Club seminars. Everybody is welcome.