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Written by:
Eleanor Gunn
18 Dec 2023

Sara Rhodes, Trinity Hall’s first female Butler and one of the first female Butler’s in Cambridge, is retiring after 26 years of dedicated service.

Ever since her first job at the age of 15, Sara has gone by the motto: “If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” She started her career at Trinity Hall as a part-time waitress in 1986 and quickly moved up the ranks. She had an obvious talent for leadership and professionalism.

“We used to tell the Deputy Manciple what we were doing,” she says in jest, as she recounts how her team got through the tasks of everyday service. Soon Sara was offered the role of Deputy Butler (in the summer of 1988).

With word that the former Butler was heading for early retirement, Sara set her heart on taking up the role of Butler. When her mother spotted the advertisement for the position in the local newspaper (whilst Sara was pursuing other professional ventures) it was an opportunity she could not miss. “I got a phone call from Susan Pope, the bursar at the time, and I’ll never forget she called. I accepted the job, hung up the phone, and ran around the living room screaming. I was so pleased. The rest is history.”

Sara is now passing on her 26 years worth of knowledge to the next in line, Gabriele Cirrottola, in the same way the butler before Sara did for her. College tasks like: how to lay tables; manage feasts of over 100 guests; and conduct wine audits and cellar invoices.