Home from home
This month's staff spotlight features Fay Holmes, a domestic assistant for 31 years and a familiar face for generations of students.
Fay started working with the University at Brewster House, a four-storey tower block and part of Pollock Halls of Residence in 1984, moving onto the Kenneth Mackenzie Hospitality Suite (Ken Mack) after Brewster House was demolished in 2002.
After working at the Ken Mack, Fay came full circle and was back at the Brewster House site working in the new Chancellors Court building.
Fay has recently moved away from Pollock and has been based more centrally at Richmond Place for the past 3 years. Despite all the changes of location, one thing remains constant; working to make sure that students in Edinburgh feel at home.
Being away from family and getting to know a new city and a new mode of existence is a tricky business and, as a regular and approachable figure in halls of residence, Fay has often found herself helping students adapt to their new life.
She once had to show a student how to put a pillowcase on a pillow and, on another occasion, walked into a kitchen to discover a student attempting to cook a whole chicken in a wok! Fay explained, in a calm and matter of fact way, that unless the student cut up the chicken, they would definitely not be eating it for lunch.
An international outlook
Asked about the most enjoyable aspect of the job, Fay has no hesitation in highlighting the opportunity to meet students from all over the world.
It is a two-way relationship because as well as learning about different cultures, Fay also spends time outside work helping students with their written and spoken English.
It hasn't always been plain sailing however, and there have been notable disasters including an incident with a toilet cistern that left Fay desperately holding a cistern and pipe together as an amused colleague looked on.
Beyond the University
There have been friendships formed that have extended far beyond student accommodation. As well as Christmas and birthday cards, Fay was proud to be invited as a guest to the graduation ceremony of one student and has attended a number of weddings.
In 2014 Fay was featured in the ‘Inspiring Women, Inspiring Change’ exhibition as part of the University’s celebration of International Women’s Day.
This exhibition was first shown in Old College Quad and is now on George Street in the heart of Edinburgh. Recognition of a career spent making the student experience that little bit easier.
Do you have memories of Fay Holmes?
We would love to receive them and pass them on to Fay. Please contact us using the details below.