‘I always work on New Year’s Eve...’

‘I always work on New Year’s Eve...’

RUSSEL Williams, 45, is a professional tribunal officer by day but most of his weekends are taken up as a steward working for Cardiff council’s events team. Last night he was one of the many stewards working at the Calennig celebrations at City Hall. Russel lives at The Knap, Barry, with his partner Katie and has two daughters, Megan, 15, and Nia, 12.

How long have you been a steward?

I can’t quite believe it but I have been a steward for Cardiff council for the past 18 years. I am definitely one of the longest-serving stewards and I have seen a lot of changes over those years.

How did you get into the job in the first place?

One drunken evening a friend of mine, who worked for a leisure centre in the city, talked me and a friend into helping out with what was called a Bay Day event. Cardiff Bay was very different back then and the restructure was just getting under way. It was a cycling championship starting from The Wharf pub and that was how I got into it. I just carried on being a steward from that point.

What do you like about your job?

I love the social aspect of the job. I am getting paid to have fun. The safety of the ground is paramount but it is nice to meet so many different people.

Do you not get upset on New Year’s Eve watching everyone else having a good time while you are working?

No. I have never been a big fan of New Year’s Eve so I have worked all the Calennig celebrations since it started in the 1990s. I worked the Millennium Eve and it is one of the best events of the year. After work a crowd of us get together and have a bit of a party. It is a bit cold but great fun.

What is the strangest thing anyone has asked you while you were working?

Once when I was working at the Mardi Gras someone came up to me and asked if they could be my slave for the day. That is definitely the strangest thing I have been asked, normally it is for directions or where the St John Ambulance staff are.

What is the best event you have worked at?

There are so many to chose from it is difficult to say. I loved working Millennium Eve, that is one New Year’s Eve I will never forget. But I have worked for the Rugby World Cup, VIP events. I really enjoyed them, things like the food and wine festival down the Bay are good fun because it is all about families. I had to escort Catherine Zeta Jones, Ian Botham and Charlotte Church when they ended their walk in Cardiff and have worked with bands like the Fun Loving Criminals but I don’t get starstruck. They are just normal people to me.

Would you recommend other people to be a steward?

Without a doubt, it is great fun, you get a lovely suntan when the weather is good and it is fun and social.

And it is not just Cardiff, I have also got to work at events like Brecon Jazz Festival and the Chepstow Racecourse. There is so much going on in Cardiff you could work most weekends. I tend to pick and choose now but I wouldn’t miss the Calennig.