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Pauline Caroline Trapmore | 30th March 1947 – 11th April 2022

Pauline, Lance’s beautiful wife of 56 years, was laid to rest on 9th May, 2022. After having been diagnosed with – and beaten – bowel cancer, she was later diagnosed with myeloma, and came to ellenor for dementia and end of life care.

Here at ellenor, we care for patients – and their families – day in, day out. We help them through one of the most testing, trying times of their life. We support them at their lowest ebb; create a safe space for them at their most vulnerable. 

Yet while we know them at the end of their life, we often don’t know their story of their life. Where they grew up, what their passions were. What they did for a living, the people (and pets) they loved, and the exotic locations they flew (or hitch-hiked) to in their youth.

Today, Pauline – and the remarkable life she led – is remembered by her sons Nicolas and Oscar, Oscar’s wife Tessa, grandchildren Freya, Max, and Juno, and husband Lance. Today, we’re honoured to share Pauline’s story

These are his words of remembrance, delivered at her funeral mass. This is her story.

My wife Pauline

Pauline was born at 81 Heathfield North, Twickenham to Fred and Hilder Trapmore. Preceded by her brother Clive, she was the second of two children, and started school at the age of 5 at Chase Bridge Primary in Whitton, which was a considerable distance from the house in Teddington, where the family had since moved to. The signs of her determination and stubborn streak were there from an early age as she recalled stories of how she had “run away” as a little girl, but Pauline spoke fondly of her childhood.

From an early age, she showed an interest in needle work, music and art – which was to become her driving force later in life. At 11 years, she attained a scholarship to Lady Ellenor Holles School for Girls in Hampton, “a factory for gals heading to the Foreign Office” she said, and she bemoaned not being able to combine her interests as she wished, especially in both art and science. It was because of these restrictions that she hated the private school system – she was destined to forge her own path in life. The school did its best to train out her rebelliousness and lack of attention to her uniform but to no avail. Pauline’s eyes were set firmly on the next page, her page, and she would be turning it.

Academically and athletically gifted, she breezed through her GCSEs and A levels and applied to do a pre diploma year at Brighton University’s School of Art and Design. Finding digs with a best mate Biddy in a street leading down to the sea front, she launched herself between painting and hitch-hiking back and forth to London to go over the Eel Pie Island Hotel to dance and revel in the music of the new bands just starting out. It was a special time to come of age, with the likes of Pink Floyd, The Stones, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and a host of visiting musicians. She just loved it.

One Christmas Eel Pie evening aged 19, she wound up taking this guy called Lance, who she vaguely knew, back to her parents’ house for the night and thereby starting a relationship that would go on for 56 years.

As things got more serious, Lance wanted to work and save money so they could rent a flat of their own as living at her parents’ house was cramping their style. He continued to work but Pauline wanted to travel and, after a short break in Ibiza, she came back and announced she wanted to visit her uncle in Boston. So off to the States she went, before hitch-hiking across Canada to Vancouver and dropping down through Seattle to San Francisco, such was her determination and thirst for life.

On returning, she picked up a job as a seamstress for the show girls costume designer Ronald Cobb, working at Eve’s Club just off Regent Street, and shortly after that working for The Royal Ballet in Covent Garden, which went on tour to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. All the while, she continued to pursue her passions and draw and paint.

More travel ensued, and ever-thrifty Pauline and Lance hitch-hiked to Istanbul (you can sense a theme), staying in the Medina for a few months then hitching back, sleeping by the roadside between lifts. After an assortment of temporary jobs, they were back on the road: this time to Crete, where they lived in the hippie caves at Matala that summer in ‘77.

It was around then that the time came for her to follow her gut and her talent, and apply to art school again. Having already done her pre-dip year at Brighton, Pauline was accepted at the Central School of Art and Design in Holborn and took a degree in Fine Art, choosing to specialise in Sculpture. Her final degree exhibition left her parents with two, seven-foot-high glass fibre skittles – one pink, one brown – in the garden. The postman loved them!

Their first flat at The Avenue in Kew started – quite by accident – an unconscious quest to follow the river Thames. The next move was a first floor flat share at 30 The Green Richmond, where some of the best parties ever were held. Alas, work intervened, and shortly afterwards a chance meeting with an art school friend tipped Pauline off that Hallas & Batchelor Animation Studios in Covent Garden were taking on trainees for a series called ‘The Osmonds’.

This was her first break in the film industry – and the art of animation – which soon became an obsession. Pauline freelanced in most London studios as an Assistant Animator and then for Cartoon Farm in Paris on commercials for a few months.

The move to a garden flat in 13 Chiswick Lane gave her more time to concentrate on personal work and dealing with Moggie, a black Siamese cat who had three litters in quick succession, and whom she doted on.

Work continued with ‘The Light Princess’ for the BBC, ‘Wish You Were Here’ and ‘Money’ films for Pink Floyd concerts, as well as ‘Hunting’ for Bob Godfrey Films – to name but a few.

In 1980 she and Lance formed the aptly-named ‘Doublevision Partnership’. During this period, they moved ever-closer into London, still following the Thames, to 14 Ellingham Road in Shepherds Bush – and within a year, Nicolas was born. With no time to catch her breath she designed and animated the title sequences for ‘Tenco’ for the BBC and three short films for Oxfam. A few years later Oscar arrived, and Pauline managed to juggle raising two boys while continuing to work at the lightbox in the back room with barely time to watch a much-loved late night B movie – as she threw herself into more animation projects, including ‘The Brolly’s’ for the BBC, which was a particular favourite of the boys.

Ever the chatterbox, Pauline was also a beautifully caring and social creature, so it was no surprise that throughout the kids’ school years, Pauline made many friends and touched the hearts of a number of people, some of whom are here today. Regularly, she could be seen in Chiswick House Gardens walking Casper the family dog, who slept on her feet while she worked. She was a fantastic listener with a wicked sense of humour who always tried to see the best in people.

As the kids grew, summer holidays involved decamping for six weeks to the family caravan in Thorny Hill in the New Forest. A place where the boys would run wild and explore by bike, and where access to the forests and beaches was only tempered by her taking the lightbox so she could work.

Pauline loved it there so much: between going for a wash in the swimming pool of ‘The Brittas Empire’, days at the beach at Highcliffe, sharing drinking water with a horse called Raz, escaped mink, awning storms and reading by candlelight – these were times she cherished.

As the boys began their attempts to fly the nest, life threw more than its fair share of challenges in Pauline’s direction. Pauline was a special person who was always there for those in need, and it is with that compassion, empathy and steely determination she met those challenges head-on. She was a rock and anchor for the boys – especially Nick – and I’m sure for many of her friends, too.

Her first grandchild Freya arrived in 2007, with whom she shared a special bond. Amidst a whirl of visits to adventure playgrounds, tree climbing, ice cream and paddling pools in Ravenscourt Park they enjoyed each other’s company immensely. Pauline never lost the ability to delight in the small things, and she had a fierce imagination which she could again use to bring happiness to others. Seeing her embrace being a grandma and getting an excuse to stick chips into ice cream was a joy which punctuated what were to become harder times.

As luck would have it, a studio opened up in Hammersmith – a ten-minute walk from home. “Wonderful”, she said, but it was hard work. It started with a pilot for ‘War Game’ by Michael Foreman and eventually the film was financed and commissioned. Then followed 65 episodes of ‘The Little Princes,’ a ‘Father Christmas’ TV special and, finally, she retired, having worked on Dylan Thomas’s ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’.

After having been diagnosed with – and beaten – cancer once, in her later years Pauline had to contend with the knowledge that she also had myeloma. She did this in typical fashion: with the utmost dignity, while resolving not to let it define her or get the better of her – again that determination coming in handy – as she flitted across London frequenting the museums, galleries and coffee shops, soaking it up and taking full advantage of her much-loved “freedom pass”. Sadly, Alzheimer’s hit and began to take some of that independence away.

In 2018, time came for Pauline to make one final move, and along with Lance, she decided to follow the course of the river downstream and settle closer to Oscar and his partner Tessa in Gravesend.

Here she was able to take great joy from the birth of the twins, Max and Juno, seeing them running and shouting about the house at Dennis Road. With the love, care and selfless unwavering support of Lance, she had the strength to battle on long after many would have given up, and in her final days managed to see Oscar and Tessa as a married couple before sadly passing away with Lance, Freya and Oscar by her side on the 11th April.

Pauline will always be in our thoughts and forever in our hearts.

Beginning in Twickenham and concluding in Gravesend under the care of ellenor, this eulogy paints the picture of one amazing woman’s journey. A woman who’s lived a remarkable and incredibly full life; surrounded by adventure and the adoration of close friends and family.

This year, 10th-14th October marks Hospice Care Week. It’s an annual event dedicated to applauding – and increasing awareness of – the impact of hospice care across the country. From sharing stories to supporting your local hospice, Hospice Care Week offers a platform for all of us to do our bit to raise hospice care’s profile in the UK. And recognise the dedicated, passionate people that enable this care to continue for patients and their families.

So this October, join us not only in celebrating Pauline’s life and story, but those from the wider realm of hospice care. Help us to help demonstrate the value of the care and range of services hospices provide. Through standing up, speaking up, or simply showing your support, get behind #HospiceCareWeek in 2022.

Just as telling stories about a lost loved one keeps their memory alive, your support – however small – will go towards helping hospices like ellenor sustain their vital work in the community. And any donation, however small, will make a difference. Thank you.