Former Darlington soldier swaps tanks for tea trays to become a butler

BRIGHT FUTURE: Former soldier and now a butler at The Savoy, Steven Grey. Pic courtesy of Graeme Main/MoD

BRIGHT FUTURE: Former soldier and now a butler at The Savoy, Steven Grey. Pic courtesy of Graeme Main/MoD

First published in News
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The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Regional Chief Reporter

A FORMER soldier has gone from serving Queen and country in the military to the rich and famous in one of world’s most luxurious hotels.

After spending 26 years in the British Army, Steven Grey has begun a new career as a butler at the five-star Savoy in London.

The 45-year-old, originally from Darlington, works in the hotel’s suites serving everyone from Hollywood celebrities to world leaders.

“I wanted to work my way up to somewhere like the Savoy, but I put my CV on the internet and got a call from the Savoy’s head butler inviting me to attend an interview.

“It was quite a grueling process - I had to attend four interviews in the end, but to get a job at somewhere like the Savoy is unbelievable.

“I’ve been here six months and it’s been quite an experience.”

During a typical shift Mr Grey works as the personal butler for up to 20 guests.

“I’m dealing with 20 rooms all of which have different requests so you have to be fast and learn how to prioritise,” he said.

“I’m from Darlington where my dad was a bricklayer and my mum served school dinners, and now I’m at The Savoy – it’s unbelievable.”

Father-of-two Mr Grey, a former Senior Warrant Officer with the Army Physical Training Corps, served in Iraq, Northern Ireland and Bosnia.

After leaving the British Army, he spent two years with the Australian Defence Force before being medically discharged with a hip injury.

Offered the chance to train for a new career, he travelled to Holland to study at the renowned International Butler Academy.

During the two-month course, he learnt how to greet people and fold paper napkins 25 different ways.

He also took lessons in flower arranging and discovered the art of taking off a Champagne cork with a sabre.

Despite the successful career change, Mr Grey and wife Rachel are determined to one day run a hotel of their own, ideally in Central America.

The couple have enlisted the help of Channel 4’s A Place in the Sun to help them find a suitable location and will fly out to Costa Rica with a film crew later this month.

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