For more years than many would care to estimate, an unfailingly warm smile and friendly wave greeted children and parents as they waited to cross the busy Hastings Road-Penland Road-
Wrestwood Road junction.
Rain, hail or shine, Pauline Forward’s cheerful greeting matched the care she exercised as crossing patrol warden through 31 winters. She had taken the job under pressure from her family vowing that it would be “only until they find someone…” and being eventually superseded only by the advent of traffic lights at the junction.
Now a wide circle of friends including those in the equestrian and classic car communities are joining her family in mourning Pauline’s death at the age of 78 after a sudden, short, illness.
Pauline will be principally remembered for her years of service as a ‘lollipop lady”’ who was popular with children and parents alike.
But Pauline, someone who by her vitality seemed virtually ageless, was a positive force for good in many spheres.
She was born in Salisbury where her mother had been evacuated during World War II and attended Bexhill Down Primary and Secondary schools.
She met her husband Ray, a cow-man at Worsham Farm, while working as an operating theatre orderly at Bexhill Hospital together with Ray’s sister. Pauline and Ray married in 1965 at St
Peter’s Church and went on to have son Raymond and daughters Emily and Rachel.
When the opportunity came 40 years ago for the couple to farm in their own right, Pauline toiled alongside Ray to create their home, Pinewood Lodge on the Highwoods crossroads of Peartree
Lane, Turkey Road and Whydown Road and build up their smallholding there which still raises cattle, sheep and chicken.
Pauline took pride in supporting Emily through her career in equestrian sport where physical disability is no handicap to success.
Among Pauline’s delights was a passion for classic cars, starting with a dilapidated black MG. Since Ray surprised her with the gift of a spanking red 1950 MG TD sports car, Pauline had been a well-known figure at automobile collectors’ events such as the Hooe Old Motors Club’s annual concours d’elegance and the Bexhill 100 Classic Car Show, including this year’s August events.
In 2016 when she met comedian Eddie Izzard at one of his local performances she invited him to open that year’s Bexhill 100 show and was delighted by his ready acceptance. She was gutted when she was unable to achieve her ambition of driving Eddie to the show in the TD after breaking her arm in an accident at the smallholding.
Pauline was an enthusiastic fundraiser for good causes including the Bexhill 100 Club, the Air Ambulance and Bexhill Horse Show, serving the equestrian event as a committee member.
In addition to Ray, Raymond, Rachel and Emily, Pauline leaves grandchildren Jasmine, Bradley, Maisie and Harry and great granddaughter Esme.
Pauline’s funeral will be at St Peter’s Church on Wednesday, October 16 at 12.45pm. It will be followed by interment privately at Bexhill Cemetery. But the family say that all friends – including former St Mary Magdalene School pupils she had shepherded across the road – will be welcome at the service and at a reception later at Egerton Park indoor bowling centre.
But there is a condition. Pauline was noted for her love of bright colours – notably her vividly-hued hoodies and trainers. Everyone attending is asked to wear bright colours in memory of a lady whose sparkle was infectious.
In lieu of flowers, donations are invited for the Air Ambulance.
Words by John Dowling.