Care for the elderly in Northumberland.

The Trustees of Charlotte Straker are detailed on this page. As with any Charity one of the principal responsibilities of a Trustee is to safeguard the assets of their Charity, and in the case of Charlotte Straker they should seek to ensure that the Home delivers Care to the residents and patients that is of a high standard.

Each Trustee goes through an introductory induction to Charlotte Straker and is assigned to one of the three main committees – namely Finance, Fundraising and Staff, Property & Governance. They are all volunteers and have an area of expertise that aligns to the overall responsibilities just described.

The Trustees meet every other month to review performance and discuss issues and strategy. Twice a month an individual Trustee carries out an Inspection of the Home covering important areas of function and these reports are considered by the Trustees at their formal meetings.

Berenice Groves, Chair of the Board of Trustees

Berenice is a registered Paramedic who has held a number of roles in the NHS over 33 years. Currently she is employed by Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as Executive Director of Operations. During her time in the NHS she has been involved in commissioning, design and delivery of urgent & emergency care, services and palliative care pathways. She has been instrumental developing a national programme implementing improvements in Health and Social Care. Berenice has lived in Corbridge for 19 years and is keen to support the Charlotte Straker Project in meeting the current challenges faced whilst supporting an inspiring local service

Lesley Woodcock (Thirlwell), Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees

Lesley was employed by the North East Ambulance Service for 30 years having started in 1987 and progressing through the Trust from paramedic into management as a named professional for safeguarding which is her current role for the Trust. Lesley became a trustee in 2012 as she wanted to become more involved in the community in which she was living and found that she could provide safeguarding support and advice to the residence and staff of Charlotte Straker.


Dr William Cunningham, Board Member

Bill was invited by Dr Graham Grant to help retain Charlotte Straker as a local care facility after closure as an NHS cottage hospital in 1989. He retired as Senior GP of the Corbridge Practice in July 2011. He has held posts with the University of Newcastle as Course and Scheme Organiser for vocational training for general practice and as Clinical Governance lead for West Locality of Northumberland Care Trust.  He is currently chair of Hexham’s Palliative Care Partnership and has been a trustee with the Corbridge Youth Initiative since 2010.  Bill lives in Corbridge.

Lady Blackett, Board Member

Anna is well known for the key role she has played in the development of Matfen Hall Hotel and Leisure Club, the largest privately owned hotel in the North East of England. The Hotel has won a number of prestigious awards and is a major employer in the Tyne Valley.

Anna has wide experience in general business management and in particular human resource management and is chairperson of the Staff, Property and Governance committee.

Gordon Parfitt, Treasurer

Gordon spent the first 28 years of his career working for Thorn EMI, where he held a number of senior management and Directors’ positions in the UK and abroad. In 2001 he joined the family business, Harlow Printing Limited, as Finance Director. He has extensive business and finance experience and is qualified with a Masters’ Degree in Business Administration (MBA).

As Treasurer, he is responsible for the financial management of the Charlotte Straker Project and is Chair of the Finance and Governance Committee. He lives in Corbridge with his wife Diane.

Peter Wood, Board Member

Peter spent 38 years of his career in banking and retired in 2001. He became a Trustee/Director for Charlotte Straker in 2002. Peter is a member of the Joint Independent Audit Committee for both the Police and Crime Commissioner, and the Chief Constable of Northumbria.  He is a Director/Trustee for the Heart of the City Partnership in Newcastle.  He has been interested in Education for many years taking on several roles, and is currently an Independent Member of The Hadrian Learning Trust, a Multi Academy Trust based in Hexham. Finally he chairs the Appeals Committee for the William Webster Charitable Trust. Peter lives in Corbridge.

Angela Jones, Board Member

Angela is a member of the Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Administrators and Receptionists and qualified with Diploma in Practice Management in 1992.
She worked at a number of practices in the Cheshire area and organises a number of the sponsored events as part of her role as Chair of the Fundraising Committee. She lives in Corbridge.

Ann Wagstaff, Board Member

Ann retired in May 2009 after 50 years’ nursing within the NHS, the last 30 years’ spent as a district nursing sister based within the Corbridge practice area.Her experience within all aspects of nursing and palliative care and the management of GP beds along with Chairing the Quality Committee enables her to provide advice and support to the Registered Manager and her team.

Gavin Black, Board Member

Gavin is a Chartered Surveyor and the Senior Partner of Gavin Black and Partners, a practice he founded in 2004, based in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is Deputy Chairman of NE1, the Central Newcastle upon Tyne BIDS company and sits on the Cathedral Council in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is Chairman of The Heart of the City Partnership Board .

He joined the Board of Trustees in 2005. He has extensive experience in the provision of strategic property advice to a wide range of clients in the public and private sector including funding and the acquisition and disposal of commercial property . Gavin advises Charlotte Straker on all aspects of property development and acquisition.

Neil Braithwaite, Board Member

Neil has 38 years of experience in Womble Bond Dickinson with a wide range of private wealth, real estate and management issues. He was Managing Partner of the firm from 1998 to 2008 and now acts for a wide range of private wealth candidates principally acting as the “Man of Business” for his clients.  As well as Trustee for our charity, Neil also holds various external roles including:

Member of Newcastle University Council
Member of the Audit Committee of Home Group plc
Local Ambassador of Prince’s Trust
Ambassador for Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums Development Trust

Richard Dixon, Board Member

Richard worked in the electrical power industry for 40 years, principally for Merz and McLellan consulting engineers, retiring in 2002. He has had much experience of managing electrical power system projects in the UK and overseas. During his career Richard travelled extensively in the Middle East, Africa and South America. He is now a member of Tynedale Lions and lives in Corbridge.

Michael Pottage, Board Member

Mike worked in Project Management in the IS/ IT Industry for 38 years, retiring from Nissan in Sunderland in 2010. He has extensive experience of project and event management both professionally and in home life. Mike lived in Scandinavia for 5 years and has a great interest in the outdoors and community projects.

Maureen Gordon, Board Member

Maureen is a Registered Nurse having qualified in 1997. She spent the early part of her career in Emergency Care at Newcastle Hospitals Foundation Trust and has worked in various roles across other Trusts in the region. She is currently employed by North Cumbria Integrated Care Trust as the Head of Patient Safety.

Maureen is passionate about delivering safe, quality care to all and she was delighted to join Charlotte Straker as a Trustee Director in June 2020.

Mark I’Anson, Board Member

Mark I’Anson is a local business person, entrepreneur and philanthropist. After selling his own NASDAQ listed computer company he attempted to retire and is now busier than ever. He is on the Board of a number of local SMEs and is chairman of the Northumberland Community Bank, the Haydon Bridge Development Trust and is a director of the Northstar Foundation. Until recently he was chairman of both Newcastle University and the County Durham Community Foundation. He is a past director of the Community Foundation serving Tyne, Wear and Northumberland.  In his spare time he is a keen cyclist and sailor and is becoming a professional grandfather to his ever expanding family.