Hong Kong, Lego and Peacocks
Not many of us can say we’ve trained with a national swimming team, and certainly not when that team is in Hong Kong! Account Manager Caroline Martin had certainly seen and experienced the world before coming back to school in Scotland, still only 13!
With an aircraft engineer for a father, Caroline spent the first few years of her life living in different airport cities, including Montreal, Canada (where she was born), Los Angeles and then settling in Hong Kong at the age of 6. She says Hong Kong is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it!
When she first moved there, Westerners were still an enigma, so locals regularly stared at her and touched her, mesmerised by the fair skin and blonde hair. Her mother was a swimming coach, which is how Caroline came to train several nights a week with the HK Olympic swimming team for two years.
She continued her training at Dollar Academy near Stirling, going on to be Captain of the Senior Girls Swimming team for two years when she was 16. Whilst the regime of training early every morning, seven days a week, would be too much for most of us, Caroline says it was the perfect way to get out of the house and have a sneaky cigarette! It’s probably fair to say she was a little rebellious at that stage!
Art and Exhibitions
Somehow she also found the time to indulge in her love of art, attending extra classes in the evenings with fellow promising students and entering her work in school exhibitions for the local community.
It’s no surprise that Caroline went on to get a Commendation for her art foundation degree at Manchester, and would have gone on to study art for a full degree if her portfolio had not been mysteriously stolen over the Easter break – sounds like something from a movie!
Despite changing to a Communication Studies Degree in Edinburgh, Caroline still found time to continue her love of art. She produced a number of still life pieces, which she put into an annual pop-up exhibition on Chamber Street, regularly selling a number!
Compromising to Farcical
For many years, Caroline then worked in a number of event organising and marketing roles across retail and hospitality, from Burberry to an independent ladies fashion store, from the Crowne Plaza to The Royal Botanic Garden.
It’s fair to say that she’s seen a lot over the years too … including the male TV presenter caught in a highly compromising position – he was in the lift and unaware the doors would open on the Ground Floor opposite reception … he gave Caroline a £50 tip when he checked out the following morning to buy her silence!
At The Royal Botanic Garden she was managing 80 weddings a year with two that really stood out during her time there: the Lego wedding, when every single guest dressed up as a Lego character (apart from the Groom’s mother who thought the event was a farce), and the Peacock wedding, when the Bride dressed up as a peacock and every table was decorated with peacocks in cages!
Bricks and Mortar
Having been headhunted to a recruitment agency a year ago, Caroline realised she preferred being responsible for bricks and mortar rather than people and was attracted to join ETCV. She loved the motto “if we can we will” and felt the building had a lovely feel, so is now fully ensconced in working with clients to help them enjoy successful events.
And the art? Caroline says she only has time these days for special commissions and gifts for friends as she spends most of her free time with her 7 and 15 year olds – that’s pretty time-consuming!