Quick & Quirky Questions with Audrey Carlin

Taken at the Voluntary Sector Awards in Chesterfield

Audrey Carlin is 78 years old and lives in the North of England. She is one of the founding members of the Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Tinnitus Support Group. She has been active in this group since 1986 and has won an award for her volunteering.

Audrey worked for the National Coal Board until 1974 when she left to start her family.  Thereafter, she co-ran the local Playgroup for 5 years and set up and ran a Girls’ Craft Group as an after-school project for 9 years. 

Her career resumed in 1986 working for a company that had set up 18 months earlier. Audrey did the accounts, which by then were computerised, the payroll and a range of other jobs including honing her Pitman’s shorthand skills learned at college. She worked there for 9 years before moving on to another company in its infancy to work as Company Secretary, covering a myriad of tasks including accounts, payroll, health and safety, quality control, human resources, and again full use of her shorthand skills.  

She worked there for 13 years until her retirement in 2008. This was her most challenging but enjoyable job since her days at the NCB in the 1960s. 

On retirement, Audrey became a volunteer for the charity her daughter runs, and also the Co-ordinator of the tinnitus support group in 2006. She continued there until 2020 when the pandemic started and now does her voluntary work from home. She is still as busy as ever!

Tell us 4 important facts about yourself:

  1. I’ve been married for over 57 years 
  2. I have two children
  3. I love our beautiful garden and especially our ducks, buying plants and bird watching
  4. I enjoy helping people to manage their tinnitus (something I have done since 1986) as well as producing, along with my daughter, our group wellbeing magazine.    

What is your favourite age that you’ve been so far in life, and why?

I loved the ‘Swinging Sixties’ – a great time to be young. In 1960 I was 17 and loved the freedom, fun and looking forward to a great future. I loved rock n roll, dancing, jiving, music, wearing colourful clothes and miniskirts, which I made myself. I had just left college and got my first job which I loved and had met my future husband. We had started saving and planning for our future together.     

Who is your favourite fictional character or famous person over 60?

Anthony Hopkins. I saw him in a 1972 television adaptation of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, and he became my favourite actor. 

You are alone in your house (no pets). You have three minutes to get out before the house collapses and burns to the ground. What one possession would you grab and take with you?

A family photo.

What’s your favourite creative pastime?

I love photography and my trusty mobile phone is in my pocket wherever I go, even walking down the garden. In my garden I can photograph everything from birds and bees, flowers, fungi, mosses, trees and ferns, insects, frogs and toads and, of course, our small call ducks. I photograph flowers and vegetables and changes in the seasons which provide me with a rich palette to inspire short stories that I write for our tinnitus group wellbeing magazine.  

Tell us something about yourself that’s surprising or unexpected.

In my first job, which I started in 1970, I worked for the National Coal Board in the offices where I became supervisor of the typing pool. I was asked to join the men’s first-aid team because one of the girls in the office had fainted, and this resulted in three other girls joining me. We were encouraged to join the men’s annual first-aid competition, an event that was taken very seriously, the finals of which pitched the winners of the regional teams to those of the UK. What was surprising and unexpected was that our Ladies team came third in the regional competition. Our Ladies team was the one and only team ever to take part in the NCB first-aid competition.

Our monthly flash theme for March was d/Deafness

Are you d/Deaf? Do you live with hearing loss, tinnitus or disorders of the ear? This March, we’re honouring Hearing Loss Awareness Month with content which signposts to important organisations and sources of support. Hearing conditions, d/Deafness and tinnitus have numerous causes and can happen at any stage of life. They are, however, more common in later life, and can have a significant impact on mental health and quality of life without proper support, inclusion or understanding. We’re especially aware of how creativity can enhance quality of life, so we’d love you to get in touch and tell us about how you manage tinnitus, hearing loss or d/Deafness through creativity. You can do this through a short poem, story or memoir, and we have book prizes for the best one!

Send us your entries by midnight on March 31st, and the winning entry, chosen by Autumn Voices, will receive Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky, published by Faber and Faber and Deaf Sentence by David Lodge, published by Penguin (Harvill Secker).

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