AN architecture firm hopes to kick the opposition into touch after bolstering its team with a recruit who helped shape a flagship football centre.

Gradon Architecture, in Gateshead, has welcomed Katie Shepherd.

The 31-year-old previously worked on the design for the FA's National Football Centre, at St George’s Park, in Burton.

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The site is used by Roy Hodgson's England squad as a training base ahead of international matches.

Ms Shepherd is the fifth new member of staff to join Gradon in the last year, and will work on a housing and community development in Sedgefield, County Durham.

The former Newcastle University student said: “My father was a builder and my grandfather a joiner, so architecture was a natural career path for me.

“There are lots of opportunities for me to work on designs that can make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Gradon is working on a number of projects across the North-East and overseas, including designs for Seaham Methodist Church to accommodate its growing congregation, and homes for a major scheme in Mongolia.

Graham McDarby, Gradon design director, added: “Katie has joined at an exciting time.

“She studied in the North-East and we’re delighted to have recruited an architect with such a strong mix of skills and experience.”