7 Woodbine Terrace
Gateshead, NE8 1RU
0191 477 5804
0191 433 2074
Born in Gateshead, I went to school in the Teams area and lived for 23 years on a council estate at Lobley Hill. Since 1973, I’ve lived in Saltwell and Bensham, including St Cuthbert’s Village and The Avenues. Both my sons were also born here and went to Bensham Grove Nursery, Kelvin Grove Primary and Joseph Swan schools. I'm a school governor at Joseph Swan and Kelvin Grove (where I was Chair for 18 years).
In 1986, I was first elected as a Saltwell councillor, a few years after setting up and leading the ‘Save The Avenues Campaign’ (STAC), which led to The Avenues Agency. Since then, I’ve continued to represent Saltwell with pride and commitment.
My last job was as a Senior Lecturer in Photography and Head of Digital Imaging at Northumbria University and I previously held posts in most sectors of education, including class teacher in a special school. Before that, I worked in both private and public sectors, including industry and London's Hospital Service, as a Management Services Officer. In Gateshead, I worked at Shephards Store and on Team Valley, at Waddington’s then the National Coal Board. I was also a postman in Central Gateshead.
As Leader of Gateshead Council, I'm responsible for the overall Policy and Strategy of the Council. In addition to this, I have responsibility for Major Projects, Partnerships (including International) and Communications and I'm also the Council's Design Champion. I chair several committees including Gateshead Strategic Partnership and the Diversity Forum. I was previously Chair of Northumbria Police Authority for more than 10 years.
I'm passionately committed to the arts, creative industries and cultural diversity of our region. I regard culture as a major driver for economic regeneration and employment in our area. I'm a member of several cultural institutions including BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts, Sage Gateshead and Live Theatre.
I'm also a Non-Executive Director of Gateshead NHS Foundation Trust and a member of the Court of Newcastle University.
Nationally, I'm a member of the Local Government Association's General Assembly and a member of Arts Council North.
My wife Gael is a Senior Lecturer in Fashion at Northumbria University and also teaches Yoga in Gateshead. We have brought up and educated our two sons here and, as a family, we are committed to this area, which I will continue to work for.