Sandra Hamill is a lady many know from her work with disabled travellers and her commitment to the Anglican Church in the Port of Pollensa. It was my privilege to talk to her this week in her office off the Port of Pollensa’s main square. She is a successful business woman with a string of commercial experiences from Scotland to Florida to Majorca. In spite of all that, amongst her first years here she was taken in by a business scam and lost money. She ruminated with me on how this could have happened to her. She had always trusted her judgment in the past to good effect but Majorca’s scammers were very clever. She has great sympathy with others in our community who have experienced the same things. Be careful who you trust has been her motto ever since. So many people arrive in Majorca to promote new businesses. Some of them are legitimate, tried and tested and others are scams. A little wariness and getting to know people is crucial and never part with money until all due diligence and and good advice is taken. This is what she knows now and business in her world is booming.
Sandra trained as an accountant in East Kilbride after leaving school. She knew this was not going to be her future life but could see that the training would be invaluable for her. To manage cash, make projections and immerse herself in a world of business planning was an apprenticeship. Her real passion was caring for sick people and making a difference. She trained as a nurse and swiftly moved up the career ladder. Management, Unit Manager, Trust Manager was the path she trod in a very determined fashion. She developed a ‘no nonsense’ style which was respected in her world.
Family changes brought new challenges and a Bed and Breakfast hotel in Loch Lomond came to her attention. A beautiful location and the world of visitors occupied her time. She became very conscious of the difficulties faced by disabled visitors. To adapt premises and make everything accessible was always a desire in her business. These thoughts took her off to look at a run down, repossession Care Home in Helensborough.
From dereliction to the award for Single Care Home Operator of the year in 2007 Sandra had found her vocation. The Care Home for the elderly was renovated to a very high standard but although important this meant nothing without the staff and vision. As a nurse at heart herself Sandra was setting the highest possible standards. Staff did not stay unless they could prove they could give all that was required to the residents. Staff training and encouragement to progress in the field was present from day one.
A great team was in place in Helensborough and Sandra’s vision then took her to Orlando. Her family were considering relocation and her son was at an American university. Time for a bit of sunshine and maybe wind down? Not a bit of it, the local church welcomed this energetic Scottish lady with open arms. They found her ‘can do’ attitude a real tonic and the thrift shops and charitable work progressed with her involvement.
Life moved on and Sandra became very interested in the care homes for the elderly in the USA. This brought her into the orbit of an American company who wanted her to direct their UK operation. They owned a group of 27 care homes in Kent and Surrey. The job offer was to review, assess and redirect them. This was an irresistible challenge and the return to the UK happened. This group of homes had reasonable buildings but Sandra’s mission was to give them all a great standard of nursing care which had been seriously missing. Her Special Project Director title gave her the power and the finances to make a real difference.
Time moves on and the Helensborough Care home was sold. She had achieved the expectations of the American group and now a semi retirement beckoned. The sunshine of Florida had spoilt the family and Scotland was considered far too cold to go back to. ‘Let’s go and see what Majorca is like in winter’ was the decision in 2011.
Retirement for such an active lady was always going to be an illusion. The magic of Majorca worked on this family and they knew that this was the place for the next chapter of all their lives. In that first visit Sandra contacted a Business Broker and began the sorry tale I alluded to in the opening paragraph. Money lost, experience of Majorca gained and a decision to stay in spite of it.
Sandra joined the Anglican church in the Port of Pollensa and today is one of the Church Wardens.
Her vast experience of business and practical skills makes her a very welcome addition to the membership. Practical religion is her mantra as she finds that God in poverty and inaction does not work for her.
In early days Majorca she volunteered for Age Concern and worked for Care companies. Her nursing skills were regularly called for island wide. Sandra’s Pollensa world was full of wheelchairs and visitors with mobility issues. This led her to her first purchase of an apartment adapted for the disabled. The rest, they say, is history.
Hamill Care International is now a thriving hub for those in need of specialist services on holiday.
Sandra found that Majorca was the ideal choice in which to establish a base for providing not only local care facilities but also expatriate and holiday care services. This involves not only comprehensive nursing and caring facilities but also property management and holiday organisation. Hamill Care have become established as a major distributor for a wide range of mobility aids and nursing supplies.
Every year they add access to new disabled facilities. Floating wheelchairs, sports for the disabled, Taxi tours with specially adapted vehicles for wheelchairs. They also provide respite carers for those looking after people with special needs. Island wide, Hamill Care International staff look after this very grateful group of travellers.
Many testimonials give voice to the gratitude so many feel to this team. People who thought that they would never be able to go on holiday again after illness or accident changed their lives for ever. Karen Darke the Paralympian has a home in in Pollensa and is a great ambassador for Majorca and what it has to offer. Karen, you may remember is a British Paralympic cyclist, paratriathlete, adventurer and author. She competed at the 2012 London Paralympics winning a silver medal in the Women’s road time trial H1-2. Karen is paralysed from the chest down following an accident, aged 21, whilst sea cliff climbing.
Sandra Hamill and her team are providing a unique service. The premises and business are up and running and a fabulous team in place in the office and all over the island. Sandra herself is going to spend a little less time in the office because her life changed last year. She has become a Grandmother and Skye is one beautiful baby! This special moment in her life needs time before Skye is off to travel the world. So, the plan is that Granny gets her cuddles and playtime on the beach and maybe doesn’t work quite so hard.
Sandra is a Human of Mallorca who gives back to the community every day. Some of the photos you will see are of grateful clients who have loved their holidays here thanks to the Hamill Care Team. For more information, have a look at
Written by Shirley Roberts