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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 - David Mason (New Governor)

David Mason

David is a practising barrister, specialising in employment, discrimination and professional regulation law. He is a Legal Adviser to the GMC, the GDC, GCC, Social Work England and an international accountancy regulator and has in the past served as a coroner and Employment Tribunal Chairman.

In addition to his legal work, David is a published author and has extensive experience in legal and other journalism. He is also accredited as a mediator by Regent's College (now University) London.

David Mason has lived in Darlington for over forty years and has had extensive involvement with medical services in the region.

David has two daughters and five grandchildren. His interests include modern history and social, legal, international and human rights issues.

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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 - Mac Williams JP (New Governor)

Mac Williams

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Durham City - currently vacant

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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 - Michael Halliday (New Governor)

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Wear Valley and Teesdale - Kevin Reese

Kevin was born and raised in the Haughton area of Darlington.Kevin Reese Picture

Kevin started his career as a civil servant before undertaking an honours degree in Physiotherapy, the first two years of which were at the North London School before transferring back to his beloved North East to complete his degree at Northumbria University.

Kevin worked for 13 years in the Musculoskeletal Medicine in the NHS at; Bishop Auckland, Darlington Memorial, Dunston Hill/QE Gateshead and South Tyneside NIHS Hospitals, each time moving on for promotion until his final role as Clinical Specialist, Head of CPD and RandD for Physiotherapy. In 2006 Kevin moved into private practice and for the last part of his career had small private Practice in Durham.

Kevin has taught at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in Physiotherapy related subjects.

Married with 3 adult daughters and two granddaughters Kevin's interests include being an armchair football and cricket fan, reading, history, antiques, gardening, music and volunteering for the Ange's Trust Charity in Bishop Auckland.

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Wear Valley and Teesdale - Charles Hales

Charles Hales

Charles has lived and worked in County Durham for over fifty years, He graduated from the University of Durham where he gained his qualified teacher status and an honours degree In History and Education.  During his career, Charles taught in schools and colleges throughout the Durham area in addition being a head of department faculty lead and examinations administrator for both academic and vocational qualifications.

Charles continues to be a national examiner for A level History both as a Principal Examiner, with an oversight of setting administering and assessment and as a Moderator for A level History.

Outside of his education roles, Charles volunteers as a Welcome Steward and a private and public guide at Durham Cathedral, escorting groups of visitors from all over the world.

As a Town Councillor Charles holds joint portfolio status for allotments and is currently working with agencies to develop a more accessible and inclusive environment for tenants to support their greater well- being and physical and mental health issues. Charles is also an active member of his local Patient Participation Group.

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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 - currently vacant

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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 - Bola Oderemi (New Governor)

Bola Oderemi

Bola is a Clinical Nurse Specialist, within the Acute Pain team at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust. Possessing nearly a decade of diverse nursing experience, Bola initially trained as a Registered Nurse in Nigeria and subsequently earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Sunderland.

Her extensive career includes staff nurse roles in various specialties in Nigeria and, also as a Post Anaesthesia Care Nurse in the United Kingdom. Bola has also actively participated in humanitarian pursuits and projects, maintaining ongoing involvement with charities dedicated to assisting children and vulnerable women in Nigeria.

Beyond her professional endeavours, Bola is a dedicated science enthusiast with a passion for nursing, the overall well-being of individuals, and the governance of contemporary societies. She resides in Chester-Le-Street, with her husband.

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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 - Jamie Todd (New Governor)

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Local Universities - Samantha Weston - new appointment


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David is a practising barrister, specialising in employment, discrimination and professional regulation law. He is a Legal Adviser to the GMC, the GDC, GCC, Social Work England and an international accountancy regulator and has in the past served as a coroner and Employment Tribunal Chairman.

In addition to his legal work, David is a published author and has extensive experience in legal and other journalism. He is also accredited as a mediator by Regent's College (now University) London.

David Mason has lived in Darlington for over forty years and has had extensive involvement with medical services in the region.

David has two daughters and five grandchildren. His interests include modern history and social, legal, international and human rights issues.