Committee Members

Rich Beesley - Membership Secretary

My name is Rich Beesley and my role on the NNTA Committee is Membership Secretary.

I have lived in Northumberland for the last 18 years, having hopped around the UK since I graduated from Newcastle University in 1983. I used to be a keen surfer and was lucky enough to surf on many beaches across Europe but Embleton and Bamburgh have always been two of my favourites.

My career has taken me to many places, having worked for 29 years in various roles for a Norwegian Manufacturing Company. During my last 10 years in the company I worked Internationally in Business Relationship and Project Management. In 2014 we decided it was time for a change so I took early retirement and we bought a B&B, a busy lifestyle which we have enjoyed so far.

We joined NNTA and I felt I could bring some of the skills and experiences from my career to contribute towards the NNTA objectives. I joined the Committee in 2018 and accepted the role of Membership Secretary in early 2019.

On the recreational side, gardening and fishing have replaced surfing. We are so lucky living in such a fantastic county with all it offers. The River Till and the possibility of Salmon or Sea Trout, who could ask for more, not forgetting all the wildlife joining the scene and there’s nothing better than a blustery walk be it on the beach or over the tops in winter. No bad weather in Northumberland, just the wrong clothes!

Steve White - Treasurer

I'm Steve White, new treasurer for the NNTA. I’ve been on the committee for the last 4 years and am happy to be taking a more involved role.

Until 2012 I worked on the national rail network, first for British Rail then Railtrack and ended my career with Network Rail. My working life has been varied starting on a local branch line as a Signalman and then moving into the Newcastle office. From there I went to York as Publications Manager then Signalling Safety and then into Track Renewals/Engineering as Health and Safety Manager for the East Coast region covering Berwick to Kings Cross.

I finished working in project management and took voluntary redundancy just as I met my wife Amanda.

We now run Market Cross Guest House in Belford and have not looked back. I love working for myself and even though days off are few and far between in the summer I’d rather be doing this. Northumberland is where I grew up from 1976 and it’s where I intend to be when I retire.

Jude Leitch

I’m Jude Leitch. I enjoyed working closely with the NNTA and many of you during my time at Northumberland Tourism, so when I recently left that role, I was delighted to be asked to join the NNTA committee.

My family are originally from the North East so, after growing up in New Zealand I came back to spend time with relatives and realised quickly that it was the place I wanted to stay. After time working in marketing for an international underwater cable laying company based in Darlington, and then for a national property company at The Gate in Newcastle I was lucky enough to join Northumberland Tourism just as the county began to emerge as a nationally competitive tourism destination.

I believe that tourism has and will continue to be a great boon for our county, as long as we all work together to ensure it develops in a managed and sustainable way. While at NT I was privileged to chair the English Rural Tourism Group, representing the interests of rural destinations to government and I remain chair of TMI, the national member organisation for destination managers, a role which allows me to continue to represent our industry nationally.

My fiancé Dave and I now run the Old Rectory at Howick. It’s hard work, but very rewarding as many of you will know very well, and I especially enjoy the first hand contact it provides with our visitors helping them to appreciate the less well-known delights of our beautiful county.

Ruth Dickinson

I’m Ruth Dickinson and my role on the NNTA committee involves putting the newsletter together.

I have worked as a Community and Rural Enterprise Officer for Northumberland National Park for 13 years and work with communities and businesses on their projects, future plans, funding requirements and a whole lot more, with many of these directly or indirectly tourism related businesses or projects. I represent the Park on the committee as we know full well the value of tourism for our region and also know that by collaborative working we are so much stronger and in a better position to make that crucial difference.

Northumberland has been home for practically all of my life with jobs in education, community development and the charity sector keeping me busy before going to the Park. I love nothing more than to be out walking - in the hills primarily, though the coast calls as well and enjoying the diverse landscape, seascape and fantastic wildlife that we have here. The very fact that you can choose be out all day and hardly see a soul or go to a more touristy hot spot to become’ part of the action’ just shows to me the incredible diversity that Northumberland has to offer. What a fabulous place to call home.

Jenna Shields

I’m Jenna Shields and was delighted to be asked to join the NNTA committee.

I have worked in tourism for over 17 years, in varied roles that have gave me a wealth of experience. I am currently a Project Officer for the Welcome Visitor Project, based in Berwick-upon-Tweed. This is a project which will run over a two-year period. The project aims to establish Berwick-upon-Tweed as a ‘you must go there’ visitor destination, increase visitor footfall, encourage extended visitor stay and extend the current visitor season.

Northumberland has always been my home, for all my life, now living in Berwick-upon-Tweed,I spend my free time exploring Northumberland with my two children. Berwick like Northumberland is a great place with a lot to offer, it is a place full of unexpected sights and unexplored places, all the ingredients for an enviable lifestyle, a great place to live, work and visit.

Iain Robson

My name is Iain Robson and I work for the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership where I lead on recreation, access, tourism and nature conservation.

I've worked on the Northumberland coast in one capacity or another since 1994 and started working for the AONB Partnership when it was formed in 2003. Tourism is the most important contributor to the local economy on the Northumberland coast but to be sustainable it must also conserve and enhance the landscape and the environment that it relies and improve the quality of the lives of the people who live and work here.

I am passionate about ensuring that tourism supports a thriving local economy whilst protecting the very thing that brings visitors here in the first place - the landscape, nature and tranquillity that it offers.