Age UK Essex uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our policy. To read more about how we use cookies and how you can control them Read our Cookie Policy
Skip to content

Our team of staff, trustees and volunteers are committed to serving people in later life throughout Essex.

Click below to find out more about our management team, trustees and trading directors.

If you'd like to join our team, please visit our Work For Us page to view our latest vacancies. 

Our management team

Our management team are responsible for the day-to-day running of the charity and work to ensure we deliver high quality services to older people.

Diane Nicola - Chief Executive 

Diane joined Age Concern Essex in 2000 after moving to Essex and leaving a career in London. Initially working as a volunteer within Information and Advice in the Thurrock area, Diane went on to develop and manage several countywide services for the organisation which included starting up our well established Befriending Service in 2002, Active Lives Service in 2012, Digital Befriending and Dementia Connections in 2013.  Since 2014 Diane has been responsible for the Home Help Service and in November 2016 she was promoted to Deputy Chief Executive and also took responsibility for the Toenail Cutting Service and our Trading activity.  In February 2018 Diane was appointed to Chief Executive and continues to manage all Age UK Essex paid for services, Volunteering and Befriending. Diane holds a qualification in health & social care management and is a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute.

Michelle Bennett – Deputy Chief Executive

Michelle joined Age UK Essex in July 2017.  Michelle has worked in the charity sector for 18 years, including 5 years as Chief Executive Officer for a local MIND Association in Mid Essex.  She holds a Degree in Charity and Social Enterprise Management and a Certificate of Higher Education in Charity Management.  Michelle has developed, managed and worked in partnership to deliver services for Essex County Council, EPUT and HPFT.

Gary Clinton - Head of Service Information, Advice and Advocacy

Gary joined our Advocacy service in 2004 from the Citizens Advice Bureau after a career in the construction industry. Appointed as Service Delivery Manager for Advocacy in 2012. Gary is active in the Advocacy Movement and is a past chair of the Essex Advocacy Alliance.  In 2017 Gary became Head of Service for Information, Advice and Advocacy.

Judith Middlebrook - Finance Manager

Judith joined Age UK Essex in January 2003 as an Accounts Assistant after a career break to have a family. Previously she worked in the Management Accounts department of a Unit Trust Administration company. Judith took on the role of Finance Manager in January 2017 and is supported by a fantastic Finance Team.

Suzanne Selby - HR Manager

Suzanne joined Age UK Essex in July 2012 from a Domiciliary Care Company where she worked in Recruitment and holds a CIPD qualification in Human Resources Management to level 5. Suzanne is passionate about supporting older people in the community to live well in their own homes. Suzanne also supports a number of other charities in her spare time: Hand in Hand for Aid and Development, Sands, Operation Orphans and Kipbags for the homeless.

Barbara Hurran - Service Performance Manager, Befriending and Volunteering 

Barbara joined Age UK Essex in August 2013 after working previously at Essex Ambulance Service & the NHS for over 16 years.  Prior to this Barbara was working for an International Bank in London. 

Barbara started at Age UK Essex by setting up and managing Dementia Connections for the County of Essex working in partnership with Alzheimer's Society and being extensively involved with the voluntary sector.  Then in 2015  Barbara went on to become the Service Performance Manager for the Home Help Service and then went on to take on extra responsibilities to become the Service Performance Manager for the Befriending Department in April and in October 2019 also took over the Volunteering Department and is supported by very dedicated staff within these services. 

Barbara is truly passionate and dedicated to providing a high quality service to the people of Essex and is very proud to be part of an organisation that supports older people and finds the role very rewarding.



Our trustees

Our trustees are the guardians of the charity and work with our Chief Executive and management team to ensure that we work in the best interests of older people in Essex.

Mike Mahoney - Chairman

Qualified as a cost and management accountant with Ford Motor Company. Worked in Greece, and then joined a leading Lloyds insurance broker in 1969 as Financial Director. Became Deputy Chairman and then Chairman before retiring from the City in 2000.

Jill Fletcher - Deputy Chair

Until she retired in September 2014, Jill was a working Director and Independent Financial Adviser of the long-established Essex insurance brokers W B Baxter Limited. Jill looked after very many corporate and private clients for over 30 years having previously gained experience in the London insurance market. Jill became a Director of Age UK Essex Trading in August 2012.

Peter Bland - Deputy Chair

Following a 30 year career as Company Secretary and HR Director with a Lloyd's insurance broker, Peter joined Age Concern Essex in 2004 as Deputy Chief Executive and Trading Manager. He retired in 2017.  

Chris Ignatowicz - Treasurer

A graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge (Classics and Modern Languages) and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Worked principally in the banking sector, mainly with HSBC both in the UK and abroad. After retiring, spent two years as a school Bursar in York, before joining Age Concern Essex as a Trustee in 2009.

Chris Kelly BA(Hons) TEP

Chris is a Solicitor and specialises in acting for older clients in a range of matters, including estate planning, long-term care costs planning, Will drafting, the preparation of Lasting Powers of Attorney, deputyship applications with the Court of Protection and the registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney. In addition to being a fully qualified Solicitor, Chris is also a fully qualified member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the leading worldwide professional body for practitioners in the fields of trusts, estates and related issues.

Dr Ann Naylor 

Trained in Medicine at the University of London/ Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine and qualified M.B.,B.S. Received Higher Training as an Anaesthetist in the N E Thames Region. Ann was a Consultant Anaesthetist for nearly 30 years at Basildon & Thurrock University Hospitals, and in retirement she has been the part-time Medical Adviser to the Health Service Ombudsman for 3 years. She is a County Councillor for the Brentwood Rural Division and was the Cabinet Member for Adult Health and Social Care for 3 years. Ann has a particular interest in services for vulnerable adults and children with an emphasis on Safeguarding for all ages. She represents ECC on the Brentwood & Basildon Clinical Commissioning Group. As a County Councillor she has regular commitments with the Brentwood Health & Wellbeing Panel, Brentwood Youth Strategy Group, and is a Member of the Essex Fire Authority.

Gabrielle Spray

Gabrielle’s career was principally within charity retail management, with Age Concern from 1997 as a shop manager and then Regional Manager, and then from 2011 with Age UK as Regional Manager. She joined East Anglia Children Hospices in 2012 as Head of Retail and retired in 2016. Gabrielle is a member of Braintree District Council, representing the Colnes Ward.

Mohan Sharma

Mohan was Chief Executive and a founding member of MillerTech, a market leading software company who specialise in supplying innovative software solutions to the Not-for-Profit sector for over 35 years. Having recently sold his company, Mohan has joined Age UK Essex as an IT Trustee, where he is able to leverage his extensive IT experience in helping the charity with their long-term IT strategy and digital transformation goals. Prior to MillerTech, Mohan started his career as an Electronics Engineer in telecommunications and then joined local government as Projects Officer providing Project Management support to Senior Engineers and Architects.