21 Jun 2022
Paul Clare has taken on the role of Deputy Head Porter at Trinity Hall having been a College porter previously and, before that, a police officer.
The keen biker joined the College as a porter in May 2019 having retired a few weeks earlier from the Metropolitan Police Force (MET) where he completed 30 years of service.
Much of that time was as a Traffic Officer (hence the love of motorbikes) and he also spent a couple of years acting up as a Sergeant.
Far from the crowds of London Paul says he loves his new career: “By far and away the best bit is the interaction with staff, fellows and, most importantly, the students.
“I think the ability to speak to people and to listen to them is a key part of the job and an important role of porters in College.
“Just asking how they are and reminding them, especially during exams that they are here for a reason: they are here because they are bright and they can do it!
“It’s the smallest things that a porter does that can be the most important.”
Paul adds that the benefits of communication go both ways: “Sometimes a smile from someone you’re chatting to can be the highlight of your day!”
Much of Paul’s time at the College was during the pandemic and lockdowns meant that sometimes the only people he saw in the day were the Porters he was handing over from and to. So a return to “normality” has been welcome.
“I think, in my view, it’s like a big family here, and the students really make the College so having them back is wonderful. I’ve promised some of the first students I met just before lockdown that I will be there for their graduations: it will be the first year that I’ve seen them go all the way through their College journey. And I know, seeing more senior porters interact with alumni from 10, 20 years ago, that I can look forward to seeing them for their anniversary dinners after they’ve gone.”
Paul lives in Ely with his wife, Jane. His years riding bikes for the MET as a tactical pursuit officer have left him with a lasting love of bikes and, when he’s not relaxing in his garden he’s riding his BMW K1600 GT around the Cambridgeshire countryside.
Paul took up post two weeks ago and has been shadowing the former Deputy Head Porter until he departed last week.