There’s a picture taking pride of place on the kitchen wall of Pauleen Davies’ apartment at Lark Hill Village. It’s a portrait of her, decorated in silver stars and drawn by one of the children taking part in Old People’s Home for 4 Year-Olds.
‘I was thrilled with that. I treasure it,’ says the 92-year-old great grandmother. ‘They were just delightful kids. I loved being with them.’
Pauleen Davies MBE was the daughter of a bus conductor and a tailoress. There was no radio in their house as she was growing up. Her mother recited poetry and played the piano, her father played the violin.
‘My childhood was very happy and very poor,’ she recalls. ‘We always had the feeling we were loved and secure and that’s what matters more than anything in this world.’
It was during the war that Pauleen left school, aged 14, and she couldn’t wait to join up, volunteering at 17, and joining the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.
‘I had a wonderful time,’ she recalls. ‘I have always been interested in dramatics. In the forces I was in a number of plays, and principal boy in pantomime, we toured around the other air force bases.’
She went on to have two sons, one of whom was adopted. Her daughter was premature and died when she was just a few hours old.
Pauleen was a magistrate for 25 years.
She is also founder and life president of the Radford Care Group, a registered charity which celebrates its 50th birthday this year. It is a purpose built centre that offers daytime activities for older people in Nottingham with extended facilities for the more frail elderly. Pauleen was awarded an MBE in 2007 for services to older people in Nottingham.
‘I think I have had a very good, interesting life,’ she says.
Her husband died in 2005 and Pauleen moved to Lark Hill Village eight years ago.
‘I think all people should look to their future,’ she says. ‘Even when you are old you have a future. That’s why I came here. ‘
Pauleen volunteers at the village. She used to be on reception and is on the fundraising committee. ‘I think the best way to make friends is to work together,’ she says. She belonged to the drama group and regularly goes to a poetry group.
When she heard about Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds she decided she would like to take part.
She believes it is important for older people and children to mix. She says the children can learn to understand older people; the older people have the joy of reminiscing about their own children when they were that age.
‘It reminds you of the songs you used to sing them and the stories you used to tell them,’ she says.
‘I have always loved small children.’