Pauline Gift's story to be brought to Hull Truck Theatre stage
THE life of a legendary shopkeeper in Hull is to be brought to the stage.
Avenues icon and shop-owner Pauline Gift will have her memory live on when stories of her eccentric nature, brushes with fame and quirky ways are retold by friend Jean Collingwood.
Jean is collecting stories and anecdotes about Pauline, who ran Pauline's Gift Shop, in Princes Avenue, to write a play to be performed at Hull Truck next year.
Jean, 54, said: "I loved the 'play sessions' we used to have when we would dress up in vintage clothes. Being with Pauline was like being a little kid again.
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"She really did live like a queen because she always had the finest things.
"We'd spend hours trawling antique fairs together looking for vintage clothes, jewellery and trinkets.
"She always believed in being true to her inner child and doing what you wanted, not what was expected."
Pauline, the mother of Fine Young Cannibals singer Roland Gift, died in the early hours of New Year's Day this year, aged 85, from complications arising from an infection.
She was born on a farm outside Hull and grew up in a house off Spring Bank before moving to Birmingham shortly after the Second World War started.
She stayed in Birmingham for the majority of her life, but people will also remember her as being from Hull and running Aladdin's cave-style shops in the Avenues.
It was her funeral, which saw dedicated fans travel from all over the world, that inspired Jean to write a play.
Jean, who lives in Hymers Avenue, said: "Like all her friends, I was devastated when she died.
"I saw her every week, she was my best friend.
"I expected the funeral to be a very depressing day, but it wasn't anything like that.
"I thought I knew everything about her but I started hearing all these amazing stories from women whose lives she had touched.
"Instead of depressing me, her funeral was a very uplifting and inspiring occasion."
Jean, who writes fund applications for charities, says Pauline had always encouraged her to realise her dream of writing a play.
She now wants to collect as many stories as possible about Pauline so she can begin putting pen to paper.
Jean said: "Women don't have any role models of character any more.
"Hull celebrates people like Amy Johnson and William Wilberforce but we need to remember our more recent local legends. That is why I want to tell Pauline's story – it will be another gift from her to the world."
To contact Jean, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01482 442611.
Have you got a story for the Avenues? E-mail email@example.com or call Emma Wright on 01482 315154.