Staff and Trustees


Staff and Trustees

Starlings. Image by: Terry Whittaker/2020VISION.

Our governance

The governing body of Northumberland Wildlife Trust is an elected board of trustees. Trustees play a vital role in all aspects of our work.

Our Trustees are a group of volunteers who hold the financial and legal responsibility for everything the Trust does.They bring a wide range of knowledge, expertise and experience to the charity and are responsible for approving our strategic plans, annual budget and Annual Report & Accounts. 

Trustees are appointed from our membership base at the Trust's Annual General Meeting each September.

Our mission

Our Trustees

Sandra King - Chair

Sandra King

Sandra’s role as Chief Philanthropy Officer/Deputy Chief Executive, Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland gives her a good understanding of the pressures and opportunities facing charities in the region.  She started her career in the NHS, working mostly in public health and also ran a consultancy business for nine years working on various local and national projects, mostly relating either to improving public health or to business development for charities.

Sandra lives in rural Northumberland with her partner.  Monitoring four barn owl boxes near her village is her main experience in practical wildlife conservation, but what she lacks in formal qualifications she hopes she makes up for in enthusiasm, as someone with a lifelong interest in nature and wildlife.   She spend a lot of her free time walking and cycling in Northumberland and growing organic vegetables.  

Ian Armstrong - Vice chair

Ian Armstrong

Ian has been active in wildlife conservation, particularly birds, for over 50 years.

After several years as a Trustee of the RSPB he became their first full time Regional Officer in England when he was appointed as Regional Officer for Northern England in 1973.

He was subsequently a Secretary of State, was a member of the Northumberland National Park committee for 9 years and was a founder member of the Northumberland Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group.

He contributed to, and presented, BBC and ITV wildlife programmes for many years as well as being a regular on BBC radio programmes on wildlife.

He organised and led wildlife tours to the USA and Europe for over 20 years.

First joining the Trust in 1968 when it was the Northumberland and Durham Naturalists Trust, he is a long-serving Trustee of NWT, a former Honorary Secretary and has been Vice Chairman in recent years.

Graham Gill - Vice chair

Graham Gill

Graham has a degree in Ecology from Edinburgh University and his entire career has been with the Forestry Commission. Prior to his retirement in 2015, he was responsible for the management of the Forestry Commission's forests across the North of England, including Kielder Forest, where he was much involved in combining productive forestry with public recreation and wildlife conservation on a landscape scale.

Graham has lived in Northumberland for over 20 years, and, in retirement, is involved in squirrel conservation, wildwood creation and tree planting. He is currently a Vice-chair of NWT.

Angus Lunn - Vice president

Angus Lunn

Angus Lunn has been involved with the Trust from its origin.  He is a trustee and vice-president. He was awarded the 2009 Cadbury Medal by The Wildlife Trusts for services to nature conservation. He is the author of ‘Northumberland’ in the New Naturalist series.

Angus was Chairman of the Council for National Parks for 10 years. In addition, he was Head of Adult Education at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and he has served on the Northumberland National Park Committee. He currently serves on the North Pennines AONB Partnership, is a trustee of the Natural History Society of Northumbria and manages a small farm in the North Pennines under a Stewardship Scheme.

Derek Coates - Treasurer

Derek Coates

Derek is a qualified accountant and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (FCPFA) with over 30 years of experience working in the public sector.  At the time of his retirement in 2012, he was the Finance Director for Gateshead Council and Treasurer of the Northumbria Police Authority with a combined annual turnover of £1bn.

He has been a trustee and board member for several organisations including charities and private sector bodies.

For the last 5 years he has been an active volunteer for Northumberland Wildlife Trust working on projects such as Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre and with children and families in the west end of Newcastle.

Ailsa Hobson - Secretary

Ailsa Hobson

Ailsa is an Associate Solicitor in the Company Commercial department at a Newcastle law firm, specialising in employment. Ailsa undertakes a wide range of employment work for both public sector and private sector clients advising business and charities under the law firm’s Employment Protection Package.

Ailsa started out her legal career predominately acting for claimants in employment tribunal on various types of claims including discrimination, whistleblowing, and breach of contract. She now advises employers on procedural compliance and Human Resources issues, employment related disputes and litigation.

John Barber

John Barber

For nearly 40 years I have tried to keep a balance between the considerable wildlife interest on Brackenside Farm and the need to produce food and a sustainable balance sheet. I try to apply this experience to the Wildlife Trust though I am constantly humbled by the knowledge and drive of the Trust's employees. However I feel it a privilege to continue to serve as a trustee.

Ian Jackson

Ian Jackson

Ian worked for the British Geological Survey, initially as a field geologist (including 10 years mapping in Northumberland) and ultimately as Chief of Operations. Since retirement he has undertaken consultancy for both commercial and public sector organisations in the spatial data, geoscience and communication fields.

Ian is also a trustee of the Northumberland National Park Foundation and the Kielder Water and Forest Park Development Trust (as an NWT nominee). He is a volunteer guide for the National Trust at Housesteads and also leads landscape hikes in the north of England as part of Airbnb Experiences.

Ian hopes that his experience both as a geologist and director of a large public/private funded environmental science organisation adds value to the work of NWT scientifically and strategically.

Rachel Martin

Rachel Martin

Rachel has been involved in the voluntary and community sector for just over 16 years, supporting and developing a number of youth work programmes for the benefit of children and young people, aged 8-19 years, living in disadvantaged areas within Newcastle and Northumberland.  

Rachel is passionate about getting young people involved with nature and experiencing the outdoors; challenging them beyond their usual day to day routines. She has skills in fundraising and creative engagement with young people and community members, and uses these skills to awaken new possibilities and increase the number of young people experiencing what the Trust has to offer.

Karen Statham

Karen is a qualified and experienced business development leader, with a passion for wildlife conservation and a commitment to supporting the work of The Wildlife Trusts.

She has worked in the field of business development and marketing since graduating in 2004.  Since progressing to the role of business development / proposal lead at Ryder Architecture in 2015, and promoted to an associate in 2018, Karen has gained senior level experience of helping an organisation make strategic decisions whilst ensuring their marketing collateral stands out from the crowd.  A key focus of her role is identifying and responding to new business opportunities, to win new work and generate income.

For the past few years Karen has volunteered with The Wildlife Trusts, focussing on the promotion of their events, groups and projects and has contributed regular articles to their magazine and website.

Karen cares deeply about protecting wildlife and the environment we share and believes her professional skills combined with her enthusiasm for Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s work enables her to add value as a Trustee.

Thomas Lloyd

Tom Lloyd

Thomas is a project manager at a digital agency based in Newcastle. He has had a keen interest in the Wildlife Trust since his wife worked there as a People & Wildlife Officer.

Thomas has had a passion for wildlife and the environment since a young age, and grew up next to a RSPB reserve in Cumbria. He has always been known as an advocate for all things ‘green’ and is passionate about trying to find a balance where humans can fit into the global ecosystem and leave a healthy environment for future generations. 

He is a very keen cyclist, and commutes into the city centre by bike every day whatever the weather, as well as enjoying mountain biking at the weekends. 

Thomas hopes that his business and IT skills, combined with his enthusiasm for wildlife and conservation, will be of use to help achieve NWT’s aims.

How to become a Trustee

Any member of Northumberland Wildlife Trust may apply to become a Trustee, provided they are eligible to stand for election under both company law and charity law. No fixed qualifications are needed, but a wide range of skills and experience are required in order for our Board of Trustees to be effective. Trustees may only serve for a maximum of three terms of three years (9 total).

If you are interested in becoming a Trustee, please check our vacancies page. Trustees are elected at our Annual General Meeting, held each September.

Senior Management

Chief Executive:
Mike Pratt -

Director of Finance and Central Services:
Daniel Venner -

Head of Living Landscapes and Conservation:
Duncan Hutt -

Head of Marketing and Fundraising:
Sheila Sharp -


Conrad Dickinson, Bill Oddie & Chris Packham