Monday 17th November
As you start to prepare for Christmas, spare a thought for those people who have to task of transforming hotels, shops and cruise liners into magical winter wonderlands for the festive season. Our very own Sue Sissling spent nearly ten years working on P&O cruise ships doing just that job.
When a happy set of coincidences gave her a first taste of work on board a cruise ship, Sue managed to juggle her day-job as a graphic designer for a marketing company with annual trips on the luxury liner Canberra teaching crafts. Never one to mince words, Sue and her crafting partner Mavis, told the cruise director that they were disappointed with the Christmas decorations and persuaded him to let them have a go. The rest, as they say, is history! Sue decorated the Canberra, then the Oriana and finally the Arkadia.
What started out as a small seasonal activity soon became a huge operation and Sue had to move into an empty mill in order to organise, colour coordinate and then pack up, all the decorations for the various ships. She employed a small army volunteers to help her trim the ships in just a couple of days between sailings.
Sue's work didn't go unnoticed by the press and she was featured in the Yorkshire Post, Woman's Own and appeared on TV too. When one door closes another one opens, and this saying is true of Sue's life. Her regular day job had just folded and she was working on a dead-end packing line when she received a call from P&O to join the Arkadia on a world cruise, replacing Mavis as craft tutor when she had to withdrawn when her husband was taken ill. Sue left the grey skies of England in January for the tropical heat of Honalulu.
All good things come to an end and Sue finally hung up the tinsel after 9 years in order to help and support her family. Her fond memories of Christmas cruises are kept alive by photos, videos and mementoes. P&O's loss is our gain, as we have a wonderfully enthusiastic member and a great tutor in our branch.