Born and raised in Sheffield, Pat McGrath is director of accommodation and commercial services at the University of Sheffield.
Wonders of Wortley
I live on the outskirts of Penistone, so am fortunate that I can enjoy the balance of city and countryside that we are lucky to have in and around Sheffield. I love walking in Langsett and Wortley – the views are incredible. The Wortley Arms, with its log fire and great food is my favourite local after a long walk. I’ve recently discovered the wonderful Wortley Hall Farm Shop too. The butchery sells the best sausages, as well as savouries and cakes.
We are really welcoming as a city. I thought it was brilliant when the Wheel of Sheffield was here, looking down at views of the city and the landscape surrounding it. I enjoy walking around town, and soaking up the unique vibe of the Winter Garden and its museum. The shop there is unbeatable for presents, with its Sheffield-made gifts, jewellery and cards.
A walk around our student villages
Without wanting to sound like I never leave the place, I often go on 5km walks around our student villages with my sister. It’s just beautiful. Early in the morning there are children walking to school, alongside the throng of national and international students on their way to the University. Later on, you’ll see local residents passing through and calling into the new Endcliffe Village store. I was born in Pitsmoor and moved to Firth Park as a child. When I used to catch the bus to Notre Dame School in Fulwood, I was intrigued by the place, so now that I’m working here, I really have fulfilled a childhood dream!
I usually finish my day by calling into the Village store and getting a pint of Our Cow Molly milk. When we were planning an on-site retail outlet, the University and local residents wanted to celebrate the things we do best in Sheffield. We decided against a chain store, and instead stock the shop with local produce, including Yorkshire Crisps, and, of course, Hendersons Relish.
City of sport
With its fabulous facilities, such as Don Valley and the 50m pool at Ponds Forge, Sheffield has to be one of the best locations for sporting events in the world. I love being part of these events, and the University has a diverse provision of accommodation, suiting all types of people, from umpires to 14-year-old pole-vaulters. But it’s the genuine warmth of the local people that makes the mass participation events unforgettable. You have to work harder to get people to Sheffield, but once you do, they’re smitten. It’s widely believed that Sheffield has more students staying on and settling here than anywhere else.
Weston Park Hospital
Though this reflects on a difficult time, I am very proud of Weston Park. I had never been before my husband was ill two years ago, but now I realise how fortunate we are to have this in Sheffield. It employs the best people, the best expertise and is a community in itself.
Sheffield around the world
Wherever you go in the world you meet someone who knows the city on some level. On holiday in the Maldives, I met a Maldivian man working in a diving shop whose daughter was studying at the University of Sheffield and living in our accommodation.
I’m very excited by some new developments that will come to fruition this year. Our historic Halifax Hall, which used to house students, is being recreated as a hotel. It’s a beautiful Victorian venue. The refurbishment of University House, which will become part of the Students Union, will also be re-opened, with new conferencing and dining facilities. I’m extremely proud of our wedding and conference services already and, especially our catering as we employ two of only four female Master Chefs of Great Britain.
In summer, I’m hosting an international study tour, attended by my counterparts from places such as Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and America.