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Age UK County Durham's Board of Trustee's meet on a quartley basis 


  • Denise Elliott


    After a 43 year career in Health and Social Care the majority of which focused on developing and delivering services to support older people in County Durham and Northumberland. Denise retired at the end of 2020. From a nursing background she moved from her role as Specialist Nurse for Older people into policy and service development and led on the implementation of the National Service Framework Older People for Durham and Chester le Street PCT. During this time Denise worked closely with Age UK County Durham on a number of initiatives including the handyperson schemes and falls prevention services.

    Moving to Northumberland Care Trust, as the local programme lead for their national PPOPS project (FISHNets), Denise developed older people’s wellbeing and inclusion services across Northumberland, the outcomes feeding into national research on partnership working and integration.

    For the final 10 years of her career Denise held senior commissioning roles for Durham County Council culminating in her appointment as Head of Commissioning in 2016. Through her membership of various strategic groups Denise has influenced policy and service development at a local, regional and national level. Denise is now concentrating on her caring roles along with volunteering for a local NHS Foundation Trust and her Trustee role.

  • Paul Phyall

    Deputy Chair

    Paul was born and raised in the North East and lives in Durham City.  He is an experienced trustee having served on the board of local charities and supported the charity sector through various volunteer roles, which include being a volunteer business advisor for the The Cranfield Trust.  He has served on the board of numerous companies both in the UK and Asia.

    Paul’s career spans 40 years served in three organisations.  The first was with NEI Parsons in Heaton where he was a time served apprentice and worked in a variety of quality control and quality assurance roles both in the UK and aboard.  He then joined the Lloyds Register Group and worked for 23 years in various roles and global locations - his last role being the Regional Operations Director for Asia.  On his return to the North East England in 2016, Paul ran his own consultancy business before taking up a role at SAI Global as their UK&I Managing Director providing food assurance services. 

    Paul has a personal aim of using his business acumen to help and support the charity sector and he strongly believes in the work of Age UK County Durham which is promoting and enhancing the wellbeing of older people throughout County Durham.

  • Mark Local 


    Mark works at  Northumbrian Water and has served as a Director for our organisations trading company since 2011 and became our new Treasurer in October 2020.

  • Tony Armstrong


    Tony is retired and has served as a trustee for us since 2003.

  • Jeff Watson


    Jeff is retired, having spent over 30 years with Nationwide Building Society in various senior roles.

    Jeff helped launch Nationwide's Community Board Programme across the UK which has delivered millions of pounds to charitable causes linked to housing and homelessness and was Chair of the North East Community Board.

  • Emma Hignett


    30 years in the UK media industry have taken Emma from presenting a breakfast show on a London radio station, to presenting the weather on TV, to running her own PR company.

    She now splits her time between her PR and media consultancy, and a voice over business (she is the voice of London’s new Elizabeth Line).  She was on the fundraising boards for the NSPCC in both Cardiff and London, and is currently Chair of Governors for St Mary’s RC Primary in Barnard Castle.

    She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in media, public relations and social media and is keen to work with the Age UK County Durham team to ensure that the charity’s news reaches those who need to know.

  • David Marrin


    David works as the Business & Strategy Director for Rise North East, a charity that is passionate about improving lives through physical activity.  In his role he is responsible for supporting the CEO with the growth and development of the charity, helping to develop and implement organisational strategy, enhancing the charity’s strategic relationships, and lobbying for the role physical activity has to play in achieving wider outcomes.  He is also responsible for providing leadership for, and overseeing, the day-to-day operations of the charity, including the charity’s overall financial, HR and performance management processes.

    Born and raised in County Durham, David has worked in the leisure sector for 20 years in a range of roles, and has played a key role in helping thousands of people to become more physically active.  He is passionate about improving people’s lives and tackling inequalities, and has a degree in Sports Studies, as well as an MBA from Newcastle Business School.  He has played an active role in supporting numerous strategic boards and committees for many years, and joined Age UK County Durham as a trustee in 2022