THE artist, teacher and founder of ArtsSway, Linda Fredericks, has died at the age of 76.

London-born Linda studied physics and double maths at A level and began training as a science teacher before switching to art. After qualifying at Leeds in 1961 she took up teaching posts in Salford and London, and was the first generation of female teachers to get equal pay.

In her twenties Linda was involved with the Young Socialists where she met her first husband, Jeremy Fredericks, who was employed on its daily newspaper, the Workers Press. They married in 1967 and had three daughters, Sadie, Lucy and Jessie.

In 1972 they moved to the New Forest and set up a printing company, living in a caravan at Sandy Balls before moving to Sway. The couple split in 1982.

In 1984 Linda was appointed head of art at Arnewood School, New Milton. She was described by colleagues as being endlessly perceptive, innovative and creative in her teaching.

Former pupil Jenny Savage, now an artist and lecturer, said:" She imparted a tacit resistance to sticking to the rules, and she pushed for our education to be better. She was a really special teacher."

Whilst at Arnewood, Linda leased the old stables of the former Forest Heath Hotel as a studio and, taking early retirement as a teacher in 1994, she devoted the next four years to refashioning the building as a gallery, for contemporary art, raising, in the process, £1m from the Arts Lottery.

Believing the New Forest lacked an exhibition space for artists working outside a traditional landscape style, and that every community deserved to see work by living artists engaged in contemporary debate, she set her international stall and engaged the modernist architect Tony Fretton, who had just completed London's Lisson Gallery, to design ArtSway.

In the early 1980s Linda founded Troubadour Theatre Company, set up by the New Milton Arts Centre as a government funded scheme for unemployed youth. Most in the company went on to careers in performance, theatre and television.

She met her second husband David Pratley, the arts consultant and former chairman of the Lighthouse, Poole, at the ASF Weave class she ran in Arundel. With David's encouragement Linda began writing, completing with her friends, Lesley Loach and the late Jo Darke, Trio, a recollection of their lives as young mothers in north London.

"In 2017, thinking of where in the New Forest she might want her life to be celebrated, it was to ArtSway that she gravitated once more to stage a major retrospective of her life's work in the arts, education and politics. Making An Exhibition Of Myself took place in June, just three months before her death," said David.

Linda died at the Oakhaven Hospice on September 1, after a three year battle with cancer. She is survived by her husband, three daughters and six grandchildren. Her cremation will be a private event for her immediate family.