Mairi Hurrell was the first member of staff at Queens’ to become an Honorary FellowLucas Maddalena

Content Note: This article contains a discussion of mental health

Queens’ College has set up a new welfare fund named after former College Nurse Mairi Hurrell, who worked at the College for 22 years.

The Mairi Hurrell Fund is allotted to support mental and physical health, funding “expert treatment” and counselling for students.

The Revd Tim Harling, Head of Welfare at Queens’, said that Hurrell “not only came to help” the College during the pandemic, but “added her wise and compassionate experience”.

The naming comes after Hurrell’s election as an Honorary Fellow of the College in July 2020. She had served as College Nurse and took on the role of Welfare Advisor before retiring in 2015, but returned to work at Queens’ for six months from January 2020.

After her appointment as Welfare Advisor in 2013, Hurrell became part of the first dedicated welfare team at a Cambridge college.

“We have our students for a short but very significant time before they go on to make their way in life. Good student welfare provision is costly but it is not an option, it is an obligation,” she said in a 2015 profile in the Queens’ publication The Bridge.


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In July 2020, she became the first member of staff at Queens’ to be elected to an Honorary Fellowship.

Harling, who recommended Hurrell for a fellowship, explained: “As the pandemic took hold, we called on Mairi to support us even though she was retired.”

He recalled that in the decision to award a fellowship there was “a sense” among members of the Governing Body “that there could be nobody who would more deserve to be the first staff member in living memory to receive this honour.”

The fund named after Hurrell is part of the College’s Covid-19 Student Support Fund, which has raised £221,000 in donations so far. Other areas the Support Fund provides for include quarantine accommodation and supplementing bursaries.

There is mounting evidence that the pandemic has a negative impact on student mental health. In December 2020, the Office for National Statistics reported that 57% of students surveyed said their mental health and wellbeing had declined.