Olive Woodward and Katherine Saville, both 89 years old, met at school in Nottingham, England, during the darkest days of World War II. The two school friends are still close, so close, in fact, that they both live at the same care home, Berry Hill Park, in Nottinghamshire, UK.
“We knew we would always be friends when we met. She means a lot to me,” Saville told the BBC. As for Woodward, her friend is the only person who really knows how to make her smile when she needs it. “If I’m unhappy or in trouble, I only have to go to Kathleen, and we’ll always end up laughing,” the elderly friend said.
The staff at the home, including director Sally Tebbett, have come to appreciate the “dynamic duo” for their humor and love. “They never stop chatting and giggling,” Tebbett told the BBC. “It’s so endearing, they genuinely love each other, and you can see that.”
Saville and Woodward both hail from Mansfield, and they sat next to each other in Ravenshead School in Nottingham in 1941, which saw the beginning of their epic friendship. Since then, the two have had jobs, husbands, and children but have always remained close no matter what else was going on in their lives.
A big part of their relationship has been their honesty, sense of adventure, and mischievous humor. “We’ve stayed friends by telling each other what we think and never arguing,” Saville told SNWS. “We are 89 but we look 63. … We are still good-looking.”
Tebbett confirmed that “the sparkle is still there.” “Kathleen is a proper flirt,” she said. “Olive is a bit more reserved—but they egg each other on.” Though the two have always lived close to each other, moving in together has been the best medicine.
After the deaths of both of their husbands, Saville’s in 1989, and Woodward’s in 2004, the friends moved into the Berry Hill facility in 2018 together. “When Kathleen moved into the home, I missed her, and I used to go and see her every Saturday for lunch,” Woodward said. “We lived around the corner from each other all our lives, so living down the hall seemed an obvious thing to do.”
With both friends together again, the two have been able to make the most of their golden years. As Woodward put it, “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.”
Meanwhile, Saville having her wingmate living near her has meant lots of fun. “We’re like giggling schoolgirls, and we still put on our [lipstick] and get dressed up,” she said. “We always say to each other, ‘If you’ve got it, flaunt it.’”
Tebbett was touched to see the pair back together again. “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,” she said.
Saville joked, “We don’t cause any trouble in the home, but we sometimes have to knock the staff into shape.”
How have the two ladies managed to stay so close over all those years? “Put yourself out and go and see your friend,” Saville said. “Don’t always wait for them to come and see you.”
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