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30th March 2023

An interview with Hall supervisor Carol Barker

This month, Carol Barker will retire from Exeter College after working in the catering team for over thirty years. All of us at the College will miss her lively presence. She’s a familiar face to generations of Exonians, all of whom have experienced her friendly chats and infectious smile in Hall. As we bid her farewell, we decided to ask her a few questions about her time at Exeter.

Exeter College Catering Team

The Exeter College catering team, Carol is pictured second from the right in the front row

Can you introduce yourself?

My name’s Carol Barker, and I’m a part-time hall supervisor at Exeter College. I’ve been working at the College since 1989. I started as a casual and became full-time in 2009, and I was there for 10 years. And I became part time from 2019 to the present day.

What makes Exeter College special?

What has made Exeter College special to me is the people I’ve been working with, and the type of work I’ve been doing. I love meeting people and we’ve had lots of conferences that have been very enjoyable. I really just enjoy the work and Exeter College is just a beautiful place to work.

How do you think Exeter has changed while you’ve been working here?

Exeter College has changed quite a lot while I’ve been working here. I remember when the kitchen was being refurbished and we were working in Brasenose Lane. We had an opening in the servery area and we had to go down there to take the food and take that into the Hall. And when the Hall was being renovated and we had a temporary Hall in the front quad. We served food and had events in the front quad in a big marquee! So that was very different to what it is now.

What do you think you’ll miss most about Exeter?

I think I will miss the people I work with very much, and the students. I love working with the students. I do feel sometimes like a mother to them. I like to make sure they are okay and having a chat with them. And of course the Fellows, I get along very well with the Fellows as well.

What are you most looking forward to in this new stage of your life?

I think I’m looking forward to being at home with my partner Julian and being able to look after my mum a bit more. She’s 87 now. There’s lots of things we need to sort out. And being able to spend more time with our little grandson. We’re going on holiday as a family in June. Just relaxing a little bit and going on some nice holidays.

What advice would you give current Exeter students?

I would say especially to the freshers, party, but once you’ve partied, knuckle down and study hard. Enjoy your time at Exeter College. It’s a lovely place to study and work. You’ll get all the support from the staff and fellows who will help you along the way.


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