We’re shining a spotlight on the hidden stories of the people behind everyday life at Robinson College. These insights follow in the footsteps of a project spearheaded by Angus Parker in his ‘Humans of Robinson’ series, which was inspired by the ‘Humans of New York’ project.
Sarah Harold, Assistant Catering Manager at Robinson College, has helped to feed a continual stream of students for four decades, and describes the college as her second home:
“I had done a management course at Harlow Technical College, and worked for my father, before moving from Bishop’s Stortford to Cambridgeshire in the summer of 1982. Robinson College was where I got my first job, and I’ve stayed ever since.
“Robinson has become my second home; the staff have grown up together, and we’ve seen marriages, and the births of children too. Things have changed over the years as wardens and bursars come and go. But it’s the people – the warmth and caring side of our staff – who continue to bring a smile to my face.
“I started working in what was known as the cafeteria, and is now the Garden Restaurant. In those days, the cafeteria and formal hall were separate. I was promoted to Breakfast Supervisor and was allowed to wear uniform, but we could wear different coloured socks and shoes – so I used to walk around in one green shoe and one yellow shoe with funky tights! In 1990 I was promoted to Assistant Food Services Manager and, by 2000, had become Assistant Catering Manager (Food Service).
“Outside of work, until 2014, my husband and I were very keen boaters, sailing up and down the River Cam and the Ouse and, occasionally, going out to sea, with lots of tales to tell when we came back. On Fridays, I’d finish up here at 3.00pm and be home preparing for boating at 5.00pm. We’d be boating all weekend and come straight back to work on a Monday morning! I also had a personal connection with the former Warden, Lord Lewis, who also had a boat on the Ouse, so we used to have long conversations about this. I had the pleasure of doing a reading at his memorial, although I had no idea it would be broadcast!
“It makes you smile when you see staff and students recognise each other. We have a lot of alumni now connected with the College, and it’s nice to remember those days, but also nice to see newer students come through – you always have favourites. Being a newer college has shaped the environment – we had younger fellows joining, and we kept some traditions, but didn’t follow all of them, although there is a lot of protocol that still happens.
“I’m very lucky to have a supportive, customer-focused team, a brilliant deputy, supervisor, and staff that take an interest in students. I’m only as good as the rest of the team and I’m excited to see where the future takes us.”