Looking for old friends from across the Pond

Paula Hammack (then Roberts), second left, back in the day with her friends in South Shore in 1962

Paula Hammack (then Roberts), second left, back in the day with her friends in South Shore in 1962

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Despite being the chief executive of a huge insurance business in the States, Paula Hammack will always be a Blackpool girl at heart.

She has even bought a second home in her home town, which she visits two or three times a year from San Carlos, south of San Francisco.

Paula Hammack now (right) with her daughter Julie

Paula Hammack now (right) with her daughter Julie

And Paula, born and brought up on the Fylde coast, but who moved to the US in 1962, is hoping Gazette readers might be able to help her track down some of her pals from her younger days.

A big Blackpool FC fan, Paula originally left the UK to spend one year in America – but ended up staying!

Paula was born in 1942 in Blackpool and she attended the University of Manchester.

She lived on Warbreck Hill Road and then her parents bought the sub post office and newsagent on Abbey Road, South Shore, just off Squires Gate Lane. She holds both British and US citizenship.

Paula said: “My uncle was a Blackpool chief constable, my father was the first motorcar policeman in Blackpool in the 1930s – and that’s how he met my mother, whose family had a boarding house on Withnell Road.

“My father has several commendations the Blackpool police department sent me a year or two ago – he jumped in the ocean to save drowning people in the terrible winter one year.

“I had a group of friends who met at our ‘local’ down at South Shore, which is no longer in existence.

“I would love to see if anyone from those days can recognise themselves in this photo from early 1962, and get in touch with me, as I would enjoy catching up next time I’m home.

“And it will always be home.”

Paula, nee Paula Roberts – sometimes known as Pauline – has been an insurance broker for more than 50 years, having started work at an insurance agency when she arrived in America, in Washington DC.

After her husband’s death just over four-and-a-half years ago, she took over ownership of the 39th largest privately-held insurance brokerage in the UK – PIA, Professional Insurance Associates.

“My husband and I worked together for 40 years building it up, now we have more than 260 offices and are licensed to conduct business in 38 of the states in the US.”

Paula now spends a lot of time in African countries sponsoring and providing water wells, solar panels and other items to families in need.

She set up The Sterling Hammack Foundation, where every penny donated goes to those who need it for education, housing, water wells, medical expenses – and Paula pays the expenses outside of the foundation herself to make sure as much money as possible goes to help.

To contact her, email paula_hammack@piainc.com