Princes Ave's Pauline Gift dies at 85 after 'amazing life'
SHE was the fashionable eccentric who always had a story to tell.
Now, the family of Pauline Gift have paid tribute to the fashion shop owner after she died aged 85.
Pauline was the owner of Pauline's Gift Shop in Princes Avenue, west Hull.
Her daughter Helga, 46, described her as someone who always had time for other people.
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She said: "She touched a lot of people's lives.
"She has helped so many people over the years in one way or another.
"She was one of the founder members of the Claimants' Union and was the first woman in Birmingham to get a mortgage.
"She lived an amazing life, and always had a story to tell."
Pauline 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 younger life, working as a land girl and then as a factory girl and worked in a nursing home at nights.
But people from Hull will remember her from her Aladdin's cave-style shops, which sold vintage clothing and bric-a-brac.
Helga, who nursed her mother before she died from complications arising from an infection in the early hours of January 1, said: "She did vintage when the word truly did mean vintage.
"And she started it in an era when it wasn't socially acceptable.
"She would travel to charity shops all over the place on a butcher's bike and pile the basket high with stuff.
"I remember her balancing a stool on her bike and poking her head through it to see where she was going.
"She looked crazy piling the bike high with stuff."
When she ran her first store, Pauline often travelled to Selby market to hunt out a lost treasure to bring back to the shop.
"But no matter how physically draining it was, she always told me she'd be going to sleep, waiting to get up the next day and do it all again," said Helga.
Pauline first opened a shop in Cave Street in about 1974, moving to Grafton Street in 1978.
Then 20 years ago, she opened Pauline's Gift Shop in Princes Avenue, after her son Roland – a member of popular 1980s band the Fine Young Cannibals – bought the building.
Helga said: "I remember when I opened up the shop for a few days before Christmas, a woman came in and said she'd been ordered by her daughter to come and buy some things.
"We got chatting and the woman said she had been a regular in one of mum's other shops.
"So it shows items she sells span generations.
"She was an amazing, eccentric woman and I know she will be missed by a lot of people."
Pauline, who lived in the Avenues before she died, leaves behind her daughters Helga, Ragna and Jay, sons Roland and Paul, eight grandchildren and four great- grandchildren.