We lost our lovely Pauline on 14th January this year following a short illness. April 7th would’ve been Pauline’s 67th Birthday and she was so looking forward to seeing the musical. The loss of Pauline has not only left a huge gap in my life but also for the fans that she had reconnected with since 2006.
She was such a special person. Tolerant, good natured and mature beyond her years. It’s what made her such an ideal fan club secretary. The Small Faces band members loved her dearly too. They were like her brothers.
Pauline started working for the Small Faces as their fan club secretary right at the start of their rise to fame in 1965 following the release of their hit single Whatcha Gonna Do About It. She continued to work loyally in that role, right up until the time the band disbanded in 1969.
When she went for the interview with Don Arden she was hoping the vacancy was to work for The Who, as she really liked them, so when Don Arden told her it was the Small Faces she’d be working with she looked rather disappointed. That response got her the job! Don told her he didn’t want someone who would be in awe of the band. He wanted someone who wasn’t going to be dazzled by their fame. Being a fan club secretary for a professional famous band was one of the most envied positions back then. But Pauline was so grounded she handled all of it with such calm and dignity. She travelled almost everywhere with them, going on tours, including Europe and even accompanied them to television studios for the recording of programmes like Ready Steady Go and Top of the Pops. Don Arden told Pauline he wanted her to have unlimited access to the band so that she would have all the information she needed to write her fan club newsletters.
There were two other girls who worked in the fan club office with us. The receptionist was called Stella, a young mum with two children, and then there was Linda, Don’s secretary. I was so fortunate in getting that job working with Pauline. I had been a fan and used to hang out at the office helping out as a volunteer. Pauline and I just hit it off and we became best friends. She really begged Don to take me on full time. He obviously knew what a huge fan I was, but I had to promise him I would behave myself, especially as the band came into the office a lot. We had such a laugh everyday in that office, but we worked really hard too as there was so much to get through. We didn’t have computers back then and everything was answered on a manual typewriter. It was quite amazing to think that Pauline was only 16 years old herself and she handled her role with such maturity. The workload she had to deal with everyday was huge, coping with thousands of letters and she would answer as many of them personally as she could. The phone calls from fans were non stop too. Then there were the newsletters, produced every few months, that she wrote herself. All so incredible for someone so young. I don’t think I ever saw her get angry or stressed, she was so good natured and always smiling.
The band could be quite a handful when they came up the office, always in high spirits and mucking about. Although we all loved them coming into the office it could be quite disruptive, but Pauline handled them very well and I never saw her get irritated with them, even when they answered her phone or messed with her typewriter, adding funny messages to letters that Pauline would be half way through typing. Kenney was the main culprit, although he was the quiet one, he was also the joker. Mac was mostly well behaved and sensible, it may be that he was still fairly new and finding his place. Steve had a special bond with Pauline, often using her as his confidant. He was probably the closest to Pauline out of all of them. Ronnie was the cheeky one, always trying to flirt with her, but Pauline knew exactly how to handle all of them. To Pauline they were her brothers who needed looking after.
When the Small Faces left Don Arden’s management Pauline went with the band to work from the Immediate offices. Eventually, in future years, she ended up working from home for them until the band finally disbanded.
Pauline went on to work for Don Arden again when he took over the management of the band Amen Corner, and he asked Pauline if she would be their fan club secretary. Pauline and I remained friends throughout this time and even both got married to musicians in the same band. We both had two children and lived close by for a few years until she moved away. We lost contact when Pauline’s husband, drummer Dave Neal, joined the Suzi Quatro band and because he was touring abroad a lot Pauline and the children went with him.
But, thanks to the internet, we reconnected in 2006 and we picked up on our friendship like we’d never been apart. We had ten wonderful years reconnecting again with Kenney, Mac and of course the fans.
Pauline was a beautiful person and I think it’s so lovely to have the first night of the All or Nothing musical dedicated to her. Such a fitting tribute. All or Nothing was her favourite Small Faces song and was being played as she passed peacefully. It was also played at her funeral. She will be missed so much, but we were so lucky to have her in our lives.
Best friend and Fan Club Assistant.