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Behind the scenes at the Commonwealth Games – Part 4

Behind the scenes at the Commonwealth Games – Part 4

Introducing the unsung heroes of the Commonwealth Games: the cleaners.

Keeping campus and an Athletes’ Village clean throughout an international sports event is no mean feat. We spoke to Jane Vella, our colleague in Cleaning Services, to find out what it was like to look (and tidy up) after thousands of athletes.

As part of the cleaning team, I’m used to looking after venues and accommodation for conference guests but servicing the Games’ Principal Athletes’ Village was something else. We all became housekeepers for the Games, which was something completely new to us: making beds with hospital corners and tidying up to 3,500 bedrooms each day.

But our work didn’t just take place throughout the Games; there was plenty to prepare before the athletes arrived to ensure their accommodation was exactly as it should be. Every room was deep-cleaned, and we only had a few weeks after students left for the summer to turn everything around.

Bedroom in the Athletes' Village with close up of bed. Bed's covered with a bright branded throw.
A bed fit for an athlete.

Most days we were on our feet for 9+ hours, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard work. But, by working as a team, we pulled it all off and I couldn’t be happier to know that athletes left the Village knowing that we’d done our best.

It was lovely to be recognised by some of the world’s best sportspeople as we went on our rounds each day too. Team India’s coach always waved at me whenever I saw him, and it was fantastic to meet people from around the world.

Smiling people in blue stand next to the Games' mascot, Perry the bull.
Members of the Cleaning Team having a well-deserved break to say hello to Perry.

All the athletes were so friendly and many even gave us tokens of their appreciation, including badges representing their home country, which was really special. A true highlight for me though was getting to see Prince Charles when he visited the Village before the Opening Ceremony!

Overall, working at the Games was an exhausting but incredibly enjoyable and fun experience. Everyone in the team really went above and beyond, and it was lovely how we all pulled together to ensure everyone enjoyed their time at the Village. Every single person in the Cleaning Team deserves for their hard work to be recognised; I feel very proud to work with such great people.

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