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Our Board of Trustees

St Oswald's is governed by its Board of Trustees. Members are appointed for a four year term and undertake the role of Trustee on a voluntary basis. Trustees are recruited from a range of professions and bring with them a blend of experience and expertise in their field, as well as an external perspective.

Meet our Trustees

Trustees play a vital role in the success of St Oswald’s. They add real value to the existing Hospice Management Team, ensuring that the strategic aims, objectives and direction of the charity are established and met.

The Board of Trustees meets on alternate months each year and each meeting focuses on an element of the Strategic Framework - which outlines the strategic direction of the organisation for the next three years.

Brian Hedley


Member of Board of Trustees

Brian is a Qualified Accountant (C.I.P.F.A.). His professional career started at Newcastle City Council Treasurer's department in 1974. He then became Finance Manager in the Housing department and then moved to Tynedale District Council as Chief Accountant in 1982.

In 1986, Brian joined the NHS and the Northern Regional Health Authority as Assistant Director (Financial Planning). He later moved to Northumberland Health Authority in similar role, then re-joined the Northern RHA as Acting Regional Director of Finance.

In 1992, Brian was appointed as Director of Finance at South Durham Community Trust based in Darlington and in late 1993 took up post as Director of Finance at Sunderland Health Authority. Following the restructure of Health Authorities in 2002, he moved to become Director of Finance and Contracting with the North of England NHS Workforce Development Confederation, which had a shelf life of two years. Other roles included Acting Director of Finance with Selby and York Primary Care Trust and also Wakefield West PCT.

Post retirement from the NHS, Brian worked for Nomad Housing Group (now part of ISOS Group) as Housing Community Development Manager and for Newcastle City Council Strategic Housing Dept as Housing, Health and Social Care Co-ordinator until 2008.

Dr Christine English

Member of Board of Trustees

Dr Christine English is Chair of the Board of Trustees with a special interest in research. Christine is currently an Associate Lecturer at Northumbria University and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her main research interests are child and family perspectives on care and quality improvement in care.

As a leader and innovator in the field of children, young people and family nursing, she has held senior positions across the North East within clinical practice, education and research. Her last full time role was as Subject Head, Nursing, Midwifery and Health at Northumbria University. Previous roles have included: Director of Student Engagement/Experience; Faculty Director of Outreach/ Widening Participation; Programme Director; Senior Matron (Child and Teenage Oncology Service); Ward Sister, Staff Nurse.

Christine continues to publish, network and collaborate within children, young people and family nursing. She has a keen interest in improving care through research and education and is co-author of Paediatric musculoskeletal matters, a website for nurses which has been endorsed by the Royal College of Nursing.

She is also a founder and Executive Committee member of the International Family Nursing Association (IFNA UK & Ireland Chapter). IFNA is a global network of nurses who promote family nursing through research, education and practice. Christine is currently taking a lead role in growing the chapter's membership.

David Hicks

Member of Board of Trustees

David Hicks is a key member of the Newcastle tax team in Deloitte, and has been instrumental in helping to build a leading practice. In particular, his presence in the market as a heavyweight personal tax adviser has seen the team go from strength to strength, both in the region and further afield.

David is a Deloitte ‘lifer’, having joined as a school leaver from a working class family in 1990. He started his career in the Leeds office, where he gained his CTA qualification, and has been an integral part of the Newcastle office since moving to the North East in 2006. His talents saw him progress to Director in 2012, and since then he has gone from strength to strength showcasing not only his own abilities regionally and nationally, but also that of the entire team.

In Leeds, David worked in a specialist and deep technical team, which acted as a centre of excellence for the UK business. As a result, his tax talents are principally in problem-solving, and coupled with technical knowledge and his commercial and pragmatic approach, he is a go-to person not locally and across the national Private Client business.

For the last four years, David's reputation has seen him assume the position of ‘tax expert’ to the Daily Mail’s personal finance team on Budget Day. Spending the day with the team and helping them to interpret, would then take the Chancellor’s speech and the Treasury Press Releases to the Mail’s significant readership.

David also takes people development very seriously, being a ‘People Leader’ in Deloitte’s performance management process. He is responsible for a cohort of 15 or so individuals in the team.

Despite his busy diary, David is also passionate about leading a school partner relationship with Cardinal Hume Catholic School in Gateshead as part of Deloitte’s One Million Futures campaign.

Neil Morris

Member of Board of Trustees

Neil has worked as a General Practitioner in the North East for 25 years as a Partner at Oxford Terrace and Rawling Road Medical Group in Gateshead and now as a locum GP for Gateshead CBC. Both Neil and his wife, Ruth who is also a GP undertook training in the North East and as such spent time at St Oswald’s learning about end of life care in the hospice and within the community. He has been involved in NHS management for many years, initially as Deputy Medical Director at North of Tyne PCT between 2004 and 2012 and then as a Medical Director for Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group between 2012 and 2019.

Outside of healthcare and work, Neil is a Welfare Officer for the Low Fell Running Club and is also a Volunteer Leader for Ski Club of Great Britain.

Steve James

Member of Board of Trustees

Steve is an experienced HR Director who has worked at board level in both the private and public sector. Steve's early career was in professional services where he became a partner at Deloitte, leading the HR function during a period of major organisational change. For the last 15 years he has worked as an interim HR Director and consultant leading on change programmes for central government departments, local authorities and not for profit organisations. He is currently interim HR Director for the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman.

Nick Hobdey

Member of Board of Trustees

Nick is a highly experienced HR leader with a strong track record of delivering operational, tactical and strategic excellence in a variety of industries including oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, utilities, NHS, retail and manufacturing. He has held board level and HR Director roles, and his current role is Head of HR Operations for Accord Healthcare with responsibility for multiple sites across the UK as well as employees based in Europe.

Nick is a strong advocate of lifelong learning and recently completed an MBA at Durham University in order to increase his knowledge of the financial and strategic drivers within an organisation. His personal approach is characterised by high levels of energy, commitment and creativity and he is passionate about employee engagement, and inspiring people to be the best they can be through coaching, mentoring and leading by example.

In his spare time Nick likes to go to the gym, swim and play squash, as well as having a penchant for coffee and cake.

Tricia Phillips

Member of Board of Trustees

Tricia has been a Director and Business Consultant for 20 years and has worked all over the country in public, private and not-for-profit sectors, specialising in HR and Organisational Transformation. She has experience in a diverse range of organisations including Kier, Youth Hostel Association, Health Care Charities, the Arts, Justice and Housing sectors and is an experiences board member, coach and mentor.

Born and brought up in the North East before moving to Sheffield early in her career where she set up a successful business whilst raising her family. She has recently returned to live near the Northumberland coast and is enjoying all the benefits of living in this fabulous part of the country, and enjoys cycling and long beach walks.

Tricia is delighted to have the opportunity to use her experience in the role of Trustee for St Oswald's.

Graeme Boulton

Member of Board of Trustees

Graeme moved to the North East in 2001, where be spent 5 years in further education focusing on e-commerce and IT.

During his time in further education, he joined the North East based retailer, Officers Club, where he remained for 8 years. During which time he went through the ranks of retail management, ultimately leading to managing the e-commerce operation of the business, putting his skills from further education to use.

He then moved into e-commerce project management with Aurora Commerce, before returning to retail with another North East based retailer, Charles Clinkard.

Graeme joined the business to help improve it’s e-commerce and multi-channel capabilities, a role which he held for 5 ½ years before being offered the opportunity to lead the IT function of the business, as Technology Director, a role which he has currently.

Laura Lloyd

Member of Board of Trustees

Laura is a Chartered Surveyor working for a property company based in Newcastle and became a Trustee of St Oswald’s Hospice in 2020.

Laura has had a varied career, firstly as part of the HR department at Fenwick Limited after graduating from University. During her nine-years at Fenwick, Laura also worked as part of the senior management team assisting the Managing Director in all elements of the retail business.

In 2012, Laura made the move to the commercial property industry, joining Gavin Black & Partners. Whilst there, Laura completed an MSc in Surveying and, subsequently, was successful in gaining chartered status with Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS).

Laura is currently a member of the RICS North East Regional Board looking at standards of the property industry in the region and attracting future talent into the profession.

Following a move to the global real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, Laura was seconded for maternity cover to Hanro Limited and wasn’t allowed to leave!

Laura has lived and worked in Newcastle her whole life and enjoys getting out and about across the region either with her dog or on her Stand Up Paddleboard.

Rebecca Gair

Member of Board of Trustees

Rebecca has worked in digital marketing for almost 10 years with a strong background in social and email marketing.

Beginning her career in agencies, Rebecca managed multiple clients nationwide in the hospitality and leisure sector, creating and overseeing their digital strategies.

After making the decision to move in-house, Rebecca further honed her skills for an e-commerce retailer in Durham, where she was the only digital marketer. Initially employed to manage the social media strategy for Andrew James LTD, Rebecca was eventually tasked with creating and implementing strategies for email and influencer marketing, as well as creating PPC ad copy and SEO copy for multiple e-commerce channels.

Since 2017, Rebecca has held a position with ScS Group plc where she has been involved in many high profile projects such as building and maintaining the plc website, implementing and managing a new DMP, and generating in revenue with dynamic email journeys.

Imogen Holland

Member of Board of Trustees

Bio coming soon!

James Holmes

Member of Board of Trustees

James is Chief Information Officer (CIO) at North Group, a leading marine mutual liability insurer based in Newcastle upon Tyne with regional offices and subsidiaries in Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America. James is responsible for the management of the IT department and supporting 400 employees worldwide. Prior to joining North, James worked in a number of different sectors including finance, health and retail.

James also plays a role in championing the cyber resilience of organisations in the region through his work on the Cyber Security working group for Dynamo North East. Further afield, James contributes to the wider IT agenda across the global maritime insurance industry through the International Group of P& Clubs’ IT Committee, a working group he has chaired since 2020.

Having been appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2021, James is looking forward to sharing his expertise and experience further.

In his spare time James likes to spend as much time as possible outside, preferably on or under water either sailing or scuba diving in the North Sea.

Richard Taylor

Member of Board of Trustees

Richard qualified as a CIPFA accountant in 1975, shortly after his move from Warwickshire, his home county council, to take up a position in the new metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear. He stayed there for 8 years as Group Accountant and then Management Accountant, before moving to Langbaurgh Council on Teesside as Assistant Borough Treasurer. With responsibility for Exchequer functions, he had a wide brief over rate and income collection, housing benefits, payroll and various administration functions. 1991 saw Richard move back to Tyneside as Financial Services Manager for Northumbrian Water, where he remained in various roles, latterly Audit, for 20 years.

He retired in 2011 and one of the first things he did after that was to apply for a volunteer role at St Oswald’s. He has loved his Friday work since then. Mainly this has been as a Volunteer Minibus Driver, bringing patients in for day treatment, taking them to the hospitals for X-Rays or on trips out, picking up collection boxes and delivering medical garments. With limited minibus activity at present, Richard is now working at the Hospice’s shop on Gosforth High Street.

Away from work, Richard has become closely involved with junior badminton in the county, carrying out much of the behind-the-scenes administration work, acting as team manager and running tournaments on the Badminton England National Junior Circuit. He is a member of the management committee of Northumberland Badminton Association and Chairman of the Business Sub-Committee. Any spare time is taken up with his regular cycling group or on his allotment.

Sue Sinton

Member of Board of Trustees

Sue’s background is in business and retailing opening a jewellery store in Newcastle in 1984. Whilst remaining an active partner in the business, Sue decided to follow another path and studied for a Law degree at Northumbria University, graduating in 2002.

Her interest in law was, in part, inspired by her role as a Magistrate. She served on the Newcastle Bench for 20years including a term as Bench Chairman and also as a member of the Lord Chancellors Advisory Committee.

Sue has volunteered for St Oswalds since 1986 in a variety of roles and is currently part of the Spiritual Care Team based on the Adult Inpatient Unit.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends and trying to improve her gardening skills.