Mr W (Bill) McGawley OBE



Mr N (Norman) Hart


Born and bred in Salford I attended Durham University where I first took an interest in law benefitting from the encouragement of one of my tutors, Dr Leo Blair, a Barrister whose son Tony went on to become Prime Minister. Leaving University I joined a firm of solicitors in Darlington and after qualifying joined L J Heron and Co in Durham which is now known as BHP Law. I have a general career which led to leading a large conveyancing team and becoming Partner.

Amongst other things I have been a Trustee of the Durham Union Society and have sat on the board of two Health Authority Trusts. I have been a Trustee of the Abbeyfield Society and I am now Chairman of the Trustees of the City of Durham Freeman. I have been a Trustee/Director on the board at Finchale for a number of years and I am currently Vice-Chairman.

In retirement I enjoy gardening, walking the dog and spending time with my two children and four grandchildren. I also have an interest in old cars one of which is a rare 1936 Brooklands racing MG which has appeared on TV.

Mr E (Eddy) Marchant QPM


I spent over 40 years with the Durham Constabulary retiring in the rank of Deputy Chief Constable.

During my time as Assistant Chief Constable I was actively involved with overseeing many major enquiries. I was involved nationally in the development of forensic science serving as a member of the Forensic Science Service Lead Body and as a member of the council of the Forensic Science Society.

I visited a number of overseas countries in particular the USA where I visited the FBI and the Philippines where I assisted the National police in setting up both scientific support and child abuse training programmes. I was instrumental in the development of Harperley Hall (near Crook) as the National Training Centre for scientific support to crime investigation.

In 1993 I was awarded the Queens Police Medal (QPM) for distinguished service and in 2000 an honorary diploma in scientific support skills by the university of Durham.

On retirement I spent 8 years as the Independent Chairman of Durham County Council’s Standards Committee and 6 years as Vice Chairman of the County Probation Service Board. I became a Director of Finchale in 1999 and took over the Chair in 2012.

I am an active member of Rotary and have been awarded a ‘Paul Harris Fellow’ for my service.

Mr S (Stewart) Atkin

Honorary Treasurer

Stewart Atkin hails from Lincolnshire and moved to the North East 30 years ago. He had a career in banking and now runs a small personal taxation consultancy. Past times include golf and travel in addition to voluntary service through Rotary international.
Married to Christine, they have 2 sons and 6 grandchildren all living locally.

Mr W (Bob) Balmer


I have been a Director/Trustee at Finchale since 1996, following my retirement from the Civil Service. During my 32 years Civil Service career, I worked in Employment and Training Departments ( under varying Departmental names), and during the latter part of my career worked closely with Finchale and similar organisations nationally to enhance and develop the provision of services for people with disabilities or other barriers to employment.

I became a member of the Board because I knew the value of the work Finchale provided in helping people back to work, and believed I could offer advice and guidance in appropriate areas.

I am a keen runner – despite advancing years – and have completed 35 marathons and over 150 half marathons over a 30 year period. I still race regularly and am one of only about 100 people who have completed all the Great North Runs to date, something I hope to continue for a few more years.


Mr D (David) Bowles OBE

Board Member

Born and bred in Sussex I served for nine years in the Royal Air Force, followed by a career in commerce and industry, notably with the Timex Watch Company, Flymo, Northern Development Company, Northern Defence Industries and as a sales and marketing consultant. I graduated with an MBA from Teesside University and was awarded an OBE in 2008 for ‘services to defence’. I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and I have served as a non-executive director of businesses in the private and public sectors and in voluntary organisations. I joined the board of Finchale on the recommendation of a close friend because I believe its mission is important. I enjoy retirement with my wife, my family and my dog, my interests are history and archaeology, reading, gardening, motorsport and Scotland.

Mr J (John) Burton OBE


I am a retired Head of department with an extensive career in teaching. I was also office manager and advisor for Tony Blair’s Constituency of Sedgefield. In my spare time I enjoy playing in a folk group and have run a folk club in my local village for the past 30 years. I chose to join the Finchale board of Directors as I have always had an interest in preparing individuals for sustainable employment and I strongly believe in the charities mission and values.

Dr M (Margaret) Collins


I have a professional background originally in medical physics, working both in the NHS and also on the research side with Newcastle University, from which I got a higher degree (the first one awarded for this joint discipline). My work involved the application and development of scientific technology and techniques to clinical medicine, including early work with a speech training device for deaf people wishing to improve their speech and the use of a new tool in medicine –computers!

After having a family, I had the chance of working with deaf adults wanting to continue with their education in Durham. As part of this work I was able to continue developing techniques to helping those deaf adults wanting to communicate better in the hearing world and working with a specialist speech therapist we set up a good programme of training in Durham.
After a few years the small unit, set up in 1987 to help 12 deaf students at University, became a very successful unit also helping some students with other disabilities in the University, for whom there was no provision legally required. I became the Director of a new pan-disability service, started in 1993, until I retired in 2007. There were 72 students registered the first year, growing to over 1000 on the list when I retired. During this time I also developed and implemented the legal framework for when the DDA finally applied in HE. It was during this time that I was invited to join the Board at Finchale.

My interests include music, mainly singing and playing the piano and organ, cooking, sewing and crochet. I am also very involved with the local church where I am Vice-Chair of the PCC and lay member of the Deanery Synod, and I’m Vice-Chair of the local Community Hall management committee.

Mr J (John) Hitchman


I am a retired Chartered Architect and was Principal of an architectural practice in Durham City for 30 years. I studied architecture at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and have worked in the United States and London. I have served in a lay capacity on various charities and local authority committees and I am currently a lay reviewer of anaesthetic and perioperative hospital services. My interests include Modern Art and Railways and I was joint winner of the Humphrey Davey Award (Royal College of Anaesthetics) 2016.

Mr C (Chris) Cunnington-Shore JP


I have an extensive career working in the NHS specialising in commercial procurement, contracting and supply. I then went on to become a civil servant with regional responsibilities establishing commercial arrangements for hospitals and the NHS Trust leading for the Department of Health in the establishment of commercial organisations serving geographic areas. Latterly I was Chief Operating Officer having established the first one serving North East hospitals, health authorities and primary care organisations.

Having retired I established a Consultancy Company advising on change management and service enhancement as well as improvement in health environments.
I am a visiting Professor to the University of Sunderland (Faculty of Education and Society) and a lay member of Newcastle University’s Faculty of Medicines Ethics Committee. I also serve on various health related committees in my local community and am Chairman of both Sedgefield Locality Patient Reference Group and the Alliance Board for Shildon and Newton Aycliffe. I have also recently been appointed as lay member to the Durham Safeguarding Adult Board.

I wanted to join the Board of Directors at Finchale because it is an inspirational charitable organisation with an enviable reputation which has served its members with respect and dignity fulfilling its charitable vision.

Mr M (Mike) Tait FCA


I am a Chartered Accountant, Partner and Director of Business Services at Straughans Chartered Accountants, Chester le Street with particular interest in charity accounting and law, and business management. I’m a former trustee of Ascham House School Trust and have also acted as auditor to some major charities in the Durham area.

I’m a family man with North East roots and a grown up family and in my spare time I enjoy playing bad golf, walking in Northumberland and the Lake District, skiing and sailing.

Mr S (Simon) Robinson



Mrs D (Dorothy) Winter



Dr P (Trish) Bryans