Hitchin-born Heroine of Hackney on Obama and her new charity single
Since a video appeared on YouTube of her condemning London rioters, Pauline Pearce - or the Heroine of Hackney as she has now been dubbed - has become somewhat of a celebrity. The Hitchin-born grandmother spoke to reporter Laura Burge about her upcoming charity single, attracting the attention of Barack Obama and her Hitchin roots.
“I don’t know who did the video. I’m not sure if I should throttle him, or kiss him,” joked Pauline.
It was that person, whoever they are, that thrust Pauline Pearce - the Heroine of Hackney - into the limelight. The video, in which she berates Hackney rioters, has become a YouTube sensation, attracting millions of hits.
“I still feel embarrassed,” said the former Hitchin Girls’ School and North Hertfordshire College pupil.
“My mouth in it is terrible. Honestly, I am capable of actually stringing a sentence together.
“It’s overwhelming, really strange. I’ve never been shy to speak up and say what I feel.”
Born at the former North Herts Hospital, Pauline was brought up in Bradleys Corner, Hitchin, and lived in the town up until seven years ago.
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“I’m a Hitchin girl through and through,” said Pauline. “Every opportunity I get, I’m always at home.
“I’m very active in the Hitchin community. A friend of ours last week had his 50th birthday, which he celebrated at the football club.
“I turned up, and people were joking, saying ‘I thought you wouldn’t come!’.”
The 45-year-old has appeared in The Comet before, once when she was 19 for being struck by lightning, as well as for some of her musical performances.
“I love musicals. I appeared in quite a few at the Queen Mother Theatre. I was once the voice for the plant in Little Shop of Horrors,” said the jazz singer, who works part-time for community radio station Conscious Radio.
It’s her love of music - and desire to do her bit for the community - that has prompted Pauline, or Lady P as she is known locally, to release her charity single Do Something For Life.
Proceeds from the single will go towards educating older people, or as Pauline put it, ‘making England great again’.”
“We are praying that someone can finance it, because the artists have put in their time for free,” said Pauline
“We need someone to do the packing and distribution. We need proper advice and support, we’re just hoping someone can help. It’s not the final mix yet.”
The video is sure to attract even more attention for Pauline, who has had people from all over the globe contacting her.
“I met someone who was in Belgium at the time, switched on the TV, and saw me on it,” said Pauline.
“I’ve had a call from Washington DC, and a man from the White House called me too. Apparently, Obama made a speech about brave types of women, using myself as an example. And this gent has been told to meet with me - I think it will be by the end of this week.
“I can’t go anywhere now. I’ve actually changed my hair, I’ve got a wig. It does make a bit of a difference, because there are less people approaching me, but some still come across cautiously!
“It’s a beautiful feeling, walking down the road and people are shouting ‘hey, heroine’! It’s quite hilarious really.”
Pauline is back in Hitchin next Friday, for a charity singing performance to raise money for Help for Heroes.
To listen to her single, visit www.guardian.co.uk/uk/audio/2011/aug/22/hackney-heroine-pauline-pearce?INTCMP=SRCH