They met when they were just 11 years old and now Olive Woodward and Kathleen Saville, both 89, are celebrating almost eight decades of friendship in the best way – by moving into the same care home.
The pair became best friends when they sat next to each other at Ravenshead School Nottingham in 1941, and also happened to live down the road from one another in Mansfield, a market town in Nottinghamshire.
Neither ever moved house and when they married, their respective husbands worked together at the Coal Board.
The friends have remained close through thick and thin. Kathleen, who does not have children, lost her husband Leonard in 1989, after 35 years of marriage, while Olive, who has two grown-up daughters, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, lost her husband Roy in 2004.
Today, the BBFs are reunited and up to their old tricks. Kathleen moved into Berry Hill Park care home in Mansfield last year and now Olive has now joined her, nabbing the room opposite hers.
“I’m so glad Olive is here now, we’re like giggling schoolgirls,” said Kathleen, revealing that the friends have “never fallen out”.
“We have never argued over anything. [Olive’s] a good friend. If I needed her she would always be there. If Olive goes first she'll come back to fetch me. We're going to be friends in heaven”.
Their love of “mischief” has continued into seniority, said Kathleen.
“We used to get dates and not turn up. I also used to give them the wrong address, just in case I didn't like them or want them anymore.
“We don’t cause any trouble in the home, but we sometimes have to knock the staff into shape. I just raced one of the managers down the hallway for a laugh.”
Olive said: “We lived around the corner from each other all our lives so living down the hall seemed an obvious thing to do.
“I feel very lucky to have my best friend down the hall. We’ve built many memories together and we’re making more every day.
“When Kathleen moved into the home I missed her and I used to go and see her every Saturday for lunch. Then I thought, why don’t I move in too?”
Care home manager Sally Tebbett said: "The sparkle is still there. They are full of mischief.
"Kathleen is a proper flirt and has her lippy on every day. Olive is a bit more reserved but they egg each other on.
She adds: “They never stop chatting and giggling. It's so endearing, they genuinely love each other and you can see that. Since they have been reunited, Kathleen and Olive have been inseparable, causing just as much mischief in the home as they used to when they became friends 78 years ago.”
Additional reporting by Francesca Specter.
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