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Meet Your Governors

36 Governors sit on the Council of Governors and represent the Trust's public and staff constituencies and stakeholder organisations. Find out more about them here, including how to contact them and share your views.

If you would like to contact any of our Governors, please use the link below and start your message 'message for Governor Name'

Occasionally, Governors may seek views of members on specific issues and details of these can be found on the 'related publications' links on this page.

Public Governors

The Public Governors represent the geographic area covered by the Trust and this is split into nine constituencies:

Chester-le-Street - Stephen Hann

Stephen HannStephen had a career as a Primary School Teacher prior to his early retirement due to ill health and since then he has kept busy though his active engagement in the local community. Stephen is a parish councillor of over 10 years and has taken part in with council activities on a countrywide basis.

Grateful for the NHS treatment he has received for his heart condition, Stephen has put energy into supporting his local NHS providers through patient representative groups (PRG) as well as other public roles. In addition to being a Governor, Stephen is involved with the Countywide PRG as well as the Health and Safety Executive.

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Chester-le-Street - vacant

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Darlington - Liz Sanderson

Liz SandersonLiz is a retired nurse having qualified whilst serving with the Queen Alexander's Royal Army Nursing Corps. After leaving the forces Liz continued in nursing, predominantly in an accident and emergency setting until she left to raise her two children. She later returned to nursing and worked in many different aspects until her retirement.

Since retirement, Liz has worked as a volunteer with several agencies including MIND and Age UK as well as the NHS.

Liz previously served as a governor with the Trust prior to moving from the area in 2016. On her return she is happy and looking forward to being able to serve again.

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Darlington - Stephen Twist

Stephen TwistStephen brings to the role of public governor his skills as a barrister, arbitrator and mediator dealing with complex health-related issues, inquests and disability. He has expertise in professional regulation and has a long-standing record of volunteering as a governor/trustee in the charity sector. Born, raised and educated in Darlington, Stephen returned to the town in 2005. and currently lives in DL1. He is a member of the Trust's Audit and Governance Committee.

His particular interest is in end-of-life care and ensuring that patient and family experience is the best that is possible.


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Darlington - Kath Fawcett

Kath FawcettKath retired in March 2017, after working in the NHS since September 1966 almost continuously apart from breaks to have her two daughters.  She has a 10 year old Grandson who lives in the West Midlands and another Grandchild on the way.  Kath enjoys spending time with her family, walking the dog - Max, and trying to keep her garden under control.

The majority of Kath's career was spent in the area of Elderly Care at DMH which she thoroughly enjoyed as she feels there is something very special about caring for our older generation.

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Derwentside - Stephen Picken

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Derwentside - Katy Flynn

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Derwentside - currently vacant

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Durham City - Neville Coulthard-Shaw

Neville - Pic

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Durham City - Stuart Green

Stuart GreenStuart lives and works in Durham City. He has a professional background in accounting, with specialist experience in taxation, assurance and financial management. In addition he is also an examiner for professional bodies in both accounting and banking.

Stuart has a keen interest in governance and serves in governance roles for several organisations, including Durham Constabulary and the North East Joint Transport Committee.

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Durham City - David Jackson

David Jackson

David has been a resident of Durham for the last 37 years and retired in 2020 after working for 40 years in the Welfare to Work and Training sectors, including working in senior roles at board level helping in strategic and senior management, developing and growing organisations to be major players in the sector.

During his career David helped change the landscape of government funded support programmes and was instrumental in building an organisation to be the largest provider of government welfare to work and training programmes in Europe, delivering high quality and effective programmes; helping those in disadvantaged groups and areas of deprivation achieve their full potential and reduce unemployment, improving the health of individuals and communities, and supporting economic growth in areas of deprivation through innovative programmes. David was also a part of the ILO steering group to look at the impact of Micro Finance on the creation of businesses by the socially excluded as well as being a part of the team that developed the flagship New Deal Programme working with senior Government Ministers and Civil Servants.

Since retiring David has been heavily involved in working with the third sector to support their business activity and held a number of non-executive and Trustee/Governor roles with organisations such as Feeding Families, Haswell and District Mencap, and Durham Union Society (DUS). David is also an active member of Durham Rotary Club.

David is married with two grown up children and three grandchildren all living and working in Co Durham.

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Easington - Chris Boyd

Chris BoydChris is a retired Science Teacher who taught for over 32 years.  He holds a 1st Class Honours degree in Physics with Electronics (Liverpool University) and a PGCE Teaching Certificate.  In his early twenties he served as a local parish councillor.  Chris was a member of the National Union of Teachers and served as a Teacher's School Governor and Health and Safety representative.

As a frequent user of NHS Services because of several lifelong chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and psoriatic arthritis, Chris would like to give back a little for the excellent servce and treatments received.  Suffering a stroke over two years ago, he received treatment from a team of dedicated professionals and this led him to consider contributing to improving the effectiveness of local NHS services in some way, as he feels it can often look confusing and complex.  He has taken part in an active drug trial for a new psoriasis treatment and has also helped in the training of medical students at James Cook University Hospital.

Chris and his wife have three adult children and presently one grandchild.  Since the NHS has been vital to the health and wellbeing of all of his family, Chris is keen to support it in whatever way he can.

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Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland - Lord Ajibola Odu

Lord Odu

Lord Odu was born to Nigerian parents and attended both private and public schools. He studied law in University and Law School in Nigeria, graduating to become a solicitor and Barrister of the Law. He went on to work in the office of the Executive Governor of Lagos State in the office for the Commissioner for Special Duties. He also worked in private legal practice and then joined the banking industry. He worked in banks such as Diamond Bank (now Access Bank), Guarantee Trust Bank (GT Bank) and United Bank for Africa (otherwise known as UBA). He worked extensively in Risk Management, Credit Risk Management, Enterprise Risk Management and Credit Control. He worked in Santander on various projects. He attended the Durham Business School and was awarded an MBA in Economics, Management and Leadership from the University of Durham. He is also a certified GDPR Practitioner.

In addition Lord Odu is a Deacon of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and also volunteers on weekends helping to coordinate the distribution of food aid to the less privileged in the Durham, Sunderland, Stockton and Middlesbrough areas. Lord Odu currently serves as the Financial Secretary for the Nigerian Committee on Tees (NICOT). Though not a member of the House of Lords, Lord Odu was awarded the title of Lord in 2020.

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Hambleton, Richmondshire and Tees Valley - Frank White

Frank WhiteFrank has been a resident of Darlington and District for the last 45 years and retired in 2014 after working for 48 years in the voluntary (NSPCC) and Local Government (Social Care and Managerial positions) sectors. During his career Frank was involved with child protection services, children with disabilities and those with life threatening illnesses as well as mental health in both adults and paediatrics in the community and acute environments. Frank worked with a range of multi-disciplinary teams through this time including social workers, doctors, psychiatrists, ward staff, the police and legal professionals. In addition Frank undertook other duties which included the chairing of conferences, managing performance, the preparation and liaison of children services inspections and undertaking audits and complaints handling.

After retirement, Frank continued to support the services in which he had worked by taking part in regulatory inspections of children's homes. He also became a Trustee and Director of Healthwatch Darlington for a time, with a remit which included policies, budgeting and staffing issues. This role also included attendance at multi-agency meetings and liaison meetings with the North East Ambulance Service.

Before becoming a governor with the Trust, Frank joined the membership and also volunteered, even taking part in PLACE based inspections of our hospitals.

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Sedgefield - Ian Banks

Ian BanksIan has lived and worked in the Sedgefield area for over 35 years, including raising his family.

Working in main stream banking, Ian specialises in large scale asset finance and has considerable financial knowledge and experience. After completing a short service commission in the Royal Air Force, Ian continued to serve in the Army Reserve both at home and abroad, with experience gained in policy setting and strategic planning. He had the privilege of commanding an Army battalion and picked up unique management experiences from this.

Outside of work, Ian has been involved in other public work such as being a school governor with the post of Chair for 6 years as well as extensive charity work.

Having experienced the local NHS care on numerous occasions, Ian is passionate about the NHS and accessibility.

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Sedgefield - Cameron Gordon

Cameron Gordon

Cameron attended Tudhoe Grange Comprehensive School in Spennymoor before leaving home at sixteen to work in the USA, Germany, New Zeland and London, until he returned to the region at 35.

For the last 20 years, Cameron had worked in several industries within County Durham in Service Design; looking at services from the customer or patient perspective.

Prior to suffering a stroke in 2013, Cameron was the Chair of the County Durham Strategic Partnership for Strong, Healthy and Safe Communities working with both the NHS and the County Council. He had particular responsibility for the inclusion of mental health within the County Council's priorities and for ensuring the public were included in discussions.

Cameron has an interest in the way in which peripheral experiences can impact on the patient journey and hopes to use his knowledge and experience of service design to support the Council of Governors.

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Sedgefield - David Taylor

David Taylor

David is an accomplished, time served finance and administrative professional with the experience of systems in both industry and commerce of both large and complex organisations and also small to medium sized companies.  Though now spending more time keeping fit and fully aware of local and national financial and political events, along with health care developments regionally.  Originally from Yorkshire, David has lived locally now for over 30 years.


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Wear Valley and Teesdale - Marilyn Weerasinghe

Marilyn Jan 21 photoMarilyn was born and bred in Bishop Auckland and originally trained to be a Primary School Teacher. After a few years however she decided on a change of career and retrained as a Social Worker, working first with the Durham Dioscesan Family Welfare Council and then, after completing her Certificate of Qualification in Social Work, with the local authority in Crook and later in Bishop Auckland. Following the birth of her daughter, Marilyn made a return to teaching and worked until retirement as a teacher with a focus on Special Educational Needs.

Following her mother's stroke, Marilyn's passion for improving health care services was ignited. She became a member of the Patient and Public Involvement Forum and represented patient views both regionally and nationally on stroke, paediatric, surgical and stem cell research services.

Marilyn volunteers at Durham Cathedral and with the Auckland project and was recently the North East's winner of the Marsh Award for Museum Learning, specifically for working with young people in hard to reach communities.

While there are ever increasing demands on the NHS and health services, Marilyn believes that the best outcomes for patients and communities can continue to be achieved and looks forward to working together with the Council and the Trust to contribute to this.

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Wear Valley and Teesdale - currently vacant

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Wear Valley and Teesdale - currently vacant

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Staff Governors

Staff Governors represent the staff group they belong to:

Admin, Clerical and Managers - Shaun Gooch

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AHPs, Professional & Technical and Pharmacists - Peter O'Hara

Peter O'HaraPeter has worked as a physiotherapist at County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust for over twenty years and currently works in the Fracture clinic and the physiotherapy outpatient department at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

Having lived in Darlington all of his life as well as having had a long career in the Trust, Peter believes he has a strong insight to provide to the Council as both an employee for his constituents but also from a service user perspective.

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Ancillary - currently vacant

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Community based - Steven Curry

Steven CSteven has a wealth of experience in the private sector for Blue Chip Companies as well as 15 years' experience in the NHS with achievements from developing innovative new products and processes to large scale service reconfigurations within challenging and emotive environments. However he considers his greatest achievement to be supporting his colleagues through the recent difficult times in the NHS both during and after the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Currently a Business Manager for Community Service, Steven is passionate about improving outcomes for our community patients.

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Community based - Kevin Morley

Kevin MorleyKevin has worked within the Trust for 26 years and has been a member of the Multi-Professional Community team since completing his Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care at Teesside University in 2015. Prior to this he worked in a variety of settings in the Trust including Elderly Care wards, Children's wards and a School Health Community team.  Kevin has a passion for delivering quality and patient centred care and a drive for making a difference to the experience of the patient.

Looking forward to being a part of the Council, Kevin sees this as an opportunity to contribute to the Trust's delivery of the right care at the right time through the work of the Council and holding the Non-Executives to account.

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Medical - Professor Anjan Dhar

Anjan DharProfessor Dhar is a Professor of Medicine at Teesside University and Consultant Gastroenterologist at Darlington Memorial Hospital and Bishop Auckland Hospitals in County Durham.

He has been a Consultant with the Trust since 2003 and in addition to his clinical role he is involved with a number of leadership roles such as Clinical Lead for Upper GI Cancers and the educational and training lead for Gastroenterology to Health Education England North East. In addition he has leadership roles in the British Society of Gastroenterology and Royal College of Physicians.

Professor Dhar graduated from the University of Delhi with a Presidential Gold Medal and then completed his Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology training at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. He came to the UK as a Commonwealth Research Fellow to work with Professor Derek Jewell at Oxford University. Professor Dhar's Gastroenterology training in the UK was at the University of Oxford and the University College London Hospitals. He was appointed as a Consultant in CDDFT in 2003 and Professor of Medicine at Teesside University in 2019.

A National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Clinician Investigator, Professor Dhar is involved in several national and international clinical trials at County Durham. He holds a tenured Chair in Medicine at the School of Health and Life Sciences at Teesside University for education and clinical research and has previously been a faculty member of the School of Medicine and Health at Durham University.

Throughout his career Professor Dhar has been the recipient of many prestigious awards such as the British Society of Gastroenterology, Endoscopy and Advanced Endoscopy travelling fellowship. He has over 80 publications in peer reviewed journals.

Professor Dhar has a keen interest in the welfare of all medical staff in the organisation, with a special interest in equality and diversity.

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Nursing and Midwifery - Tammy Robertson

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Nursing and Midwifery - Susan Evison

Sue EvisonSue is a Nurse Consultant, specialising in respiratory and sleep medicine and has worked in the Trust in respiratory services for the past 25 years. Sue is passionate about nursing and strives to keep a balance between her clinical work and service development and improvement.

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Nursing and Midwifery - Sara Gee

Sara Gee

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Appointed Governors

We also have a number of Governors nominated by our stakeholder organisations.  Appointed Governors and the organisations they represent are as follows:

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Healthwatch Durham

Chris Cunnington Shore

Chris Cunnington-Shore

Chris is Chair of the Board of Healthwatch County Durham having taken over from Brian Jackson.

He has a broad managerial experience with a background in both the NHS and Civil Service.  Upon his retirement, he has become more involved in a number of voluntary roles supporting the local health and social care agenda.



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Healthwatch Darlington (shared post)

Dr Robert Upshall

Robert Upshall

A southerner originally, hailing from Bournemouth, Robert graduated as a doctor from University College Hospital in London in 1976.  After hospital jobs and GP training posts in Surrey and Hampshire, Robert arrived to join one of the practices operating out of Parkgate Health Centre in 1981.  The practice moved gradually to the Whinfield site from the following year eventually moving out of the Health Centre completely.  Robert continued in that practice as a partner, eventually senior partner, until 2011.  In addition to being a full time GP, Robert did consultancy work for Cleveland Bridge, for a number of years.  He also worked in the Psychiatry department at Darlington Memorial Hospital as a clinical assistant with a special interest in the Elderly Mentally Infirm for a number of years.  Robert worked as an emergency doctor with Healthcall Ltd from 1981 until 2003.  From 2003 until 2010, he worked with Durham Constabulary as a Forensic Medical Examiner (colloquially known as a police surgeon though one is neither police nor a surgeon!)  Robert was a member, latterly vice-chair, of County Durham and Darlington Local Medical Committee representing Darlington GPs from the 1980s until he retired.

Robert has two adult children - a daughter who is trained as an artist, teacher and psychologist who works for a homeless charity as a Health and Wellbeing Manager, and a son who is a musician performing in a local band and works for Darlington company EE.  Since retirement, Robert and his wife like to travel, spending time in his wife's home country, the USA, and for the last few years, he has been involved with Healthwatch Darlington Ltd, a registered charity, currently the Chair as well as being one of their directors and trustees.  Robert maintains a strong interest in healthcare issues and is passionately concerned that locally it should be of the highest quality, available to all equitably and sensitive to the needs of the local population and that providers should be able to explain and justify their decisions to their patients both on an individual basis and to the population as a whole.  Robert was appointed to the Council of Governors by Healthwatch Darlington, and jointly with Brian Jackson, he takes turns to attend Council meetings representing both Healthwatch Darlington and Healthwatch Durham.

Valerie Johnston

Val JohnstonValerie is a retired Civil Servant with wide-ranging experience in the Departments of Employment; Education and Skills; Children, Schools and Families, latterly Education (DfE) and ACAS.  She has long experience in operational management roles with teams ranging in size from 7 to 45 staff; experience in Human Resource Management, Training and Development, Contract Management, Procurement, Buildings Management and outward facing / representational roles.

Valerie has served as a Trustee for several organisations in the Voluntary and Community sector including Age UK (previously Age Concern), the Women Matter Bursary, and Tees Valley Rural Action, over a period of 25 years.  She is an experienced school governor, currently a Director of Firthmoor Primary School, and a Governor of Corporation Road Community Primary School, both in Darlington.  Valerie's qualifications include; CIPD Certificate in Training, NCFE Certificate in Counselling Skills, ITD Diploma in Training Management, IPM Diploma in Personnel Management, MA Strategic Human Resource Management, ISO 9001/2 Lead Assessor.

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Darlington Borough Council - Sonia Kane

Sonia KaneSonia is the Councillor for the Northgate Ward in Darlington and was re-elected this year. She became a Councillor due to her passion to ensure residents got the best support and care possible from those who can make a difference. Sonia has been a member of Darlington's Family Placement Panel since 2016.

Sonia has a history of being involved with care having trained and worked as a nurse at Darlington Memorial Hospital for 28 years until her retirement. She co-ordinated telephone calls for Darlington Volunteers during the 2020 lockdown and has continued to support this.

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Durham County Council - Chris Hood

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North East Ambulance Service - currently vacant

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Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust - Jennifer Illingworth

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Local Universities - Samantha Weston - new appointment


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'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough - could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'

Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community Hospital