A Birthday to remember!
Sara Allen first came to City College Norwich as a student on 16th October 1980 – a day she remembers well because it was her birthday!
Starting her secretarial course a few weeks later than the rest of the group was daunting because the girls in her class had already established a firm friendship group! The tutor (Miss Self) was kind and Sara soon settled in, learning to type to music and about the technology of the future.
While studying at college, Sara joined the netball team, had a part-time job in Miss Selfridge, as well as a busy social life!
After her exams, she went on to become a secretary to a sales manager.
From Business back to College!
Sara’s second full-time job after leaving College was back here, at the College!
She was employed as secretary to the vice-principal, Dr Jack Lewis from 1982-1988.
She remembers the first computer to be used in the Principal’s area: it was housed behind two screens on three tables!
“We had moved from typewritten letters with carbon paper, to golf ball memory typewriters to a computer and printer.
The computer was shown great reverence and we stood when using it!”
Perks of working in the Principal’s office
At the time, the Principal’s office was a very impressive room with wood panelling and a private toilet facility. Sara looked forward to the weekly Head of Department meetings as the Head of Hotel School would often drop cakes off on his way in!
When Dr Croft who was then principal, sadly passed away, Dr Lewis was appointed in his place. Sara then went onto work with the new Vice Principal, Dr Peter Stringer. She says
“Dr Stringer was a wonderful, jolly person who smoked a pipe continuously, his idea of being organised was to create piles and piles of papers! However, he was a charming man to work with.”
Returning to CCN for a second time
In 1988 Sara made the difficult decision to leave the college and went to work for Lotus Engineering.
After her first son was born in 1991 she happily came back to work at the college once again. This involved working part-time for the Quality Assurance Manager, Ian Brown.
This proved to be another happy and lasting professional relationship!
From Secretary to Admin Support Coordinator
In 1996, Sara was approached by Head of Student Services, Keith Croydon to provide admin support to the College’s first Disability Officer, Diane Freeborn.
At that time, weekly support for students across the College was planned on an A4 sheet on the wall with just a handful of support workers and one or two BSL signers.
Today, the Curriculum Services team use complex spread sheets to manage the timetables of over 120 support staff!
Sara also shared memories from her time on the College Staff Social Committee.
“We held Christmas parties (Dr Stringer dressed as Santa), Summer BBQs, and Casino nights. (I seem to remember being dressed as a Bunny Girl in leotard and top hat! Thank goodness there are no photos!).”
Says Sara on her many wild staff parties!