GSC Grays, the rural land and property specialists, has promoted Holly Story and Nicolle Hamilton to Rural Director and Marketing and Communications Director respectively.

Holly and Nicolle bring a wealth of experience to the board and Guy Coggrave, Managing Director, GSC Grays said:” We were delighted to promote Holly and Nicolle who are both experts in their fields.

“This is an exciting time of expansion for the company and we are committed to retaining and promoting outstanding talent. Holly and Nicolle have made significant contributions to the business, bringing innovation, drive and expertise to their specialist areas.”

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Holly, specialises in environmental management, developing and delivering environmental initiatives for farmers and landowners across the North of England working on a broad range of environmental projects and schemes.

She has experience in Environmental and Countryside Stewardship, including Higher Tier schemes, habitat restoration, facilitation and commons agreements.

Nicolle, is CIPR Accredited with a background in law, policy experience and technical knowledge of the agricultural and land management sector.


Demi Blue Hanratty has taken up the new position of Admin and Marketing Assistant at Rondean with a focus to enhance and expand its social media activities.

The part-time role was created in response to continued business growth. Rondean, which is based on the Drum Industrial Estate in Chester-le-Street, sells refurbished machine tools to engineering, sheet metal and woodworking companies with a specific focus on machinery designed and built in the UK.

Demi spent three years managing social media activities for Body at Home as a consultant. As well as operating Twitter and Instagram, she specialises in using Facebook to deliver revenue by using engaging content and smart advertising techniques.

She will manage the company’s social media accounts to increase awareness and online interactions. She said: “Driving results through social media, being creative and finding out what works, is something I really enjoy and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve.”

Away from work, Demi enjoys horse riding and dressage, and being mum to her eight-month-old daughter.


Durham City’s leading law firm, Swinburne Maddison LLP (Swinburne Maddison) has started a new financial year with a further eleven appointments and promotions as part of its continuing expansion plans.

Leading this new wave of appointments and promotions are Catherine Lowther and Andrew Allon, who have both been promoted to managing associates. Catherine, who is an expert in family law, has worked for Swinburne Maddison for eight years while Andrew, who specialises in residential property, has three years with the firm.

Three legal directors have also been appointed - associate solicitor in the corporate and commercial team, Mike Ward, who has been at Swinburne Maddison for nine years; Kath Hill, head of the family law department and a CILEX Lawyer, who is a much-valued long-term employee with over 25 years at the firm and David Canwell, a solicitor with ten years of employment in the residential property team. All took up their new roles this month.


Business advisory firm Deloitte has strengthened its offering in its regional business in the North East with two senior hires in Consulting and Financial Advisory.

Emma Franklin and Alastair Stewart have been appointed as directors to work across Deloitte’s regional public sector business and will be growing their teams to support the firm’s growth strategy.

Emma Franklin has joined the firm from PwC. She started her career in children’s services before moving into consultancy to specialise in local and regional government.

Her focus is supporting local government clients and partners develop financial sustainability whist creating improved life outcomes for their citizens. Emma leads a team with a breadth of experience across public sector and who all share a similar passion for its crucial role in society.

Alastair is a transport specialist having worked in this sector as a management consultant and in industry. He joins the firm from PA Consulting.

He will primarily work with Public Sector transport organisations, helping to grow Deloitte’s regional transport business. He specialises in supporting transport organisations to make the case for transformational projects and programmes and has helped clients to secure over £40bn of transport investment within the last five years.

Deloitte has a market leading national transport practice – this hire represents the investment being made by Deloitte to support its regional client base.

Richard Bray, partner in consulting at Deloitte across the North of England, said: “It’s an exciting time to join the firm as we grow our consulting offering in the North of England.

“Emma and Alistair have a shared desire to improve our public services to make them more efficient to deliver and more accessible for the people that need them, and I am pleased to welcome them to Deloitte.”

Simon Bedford, partner and leader of the regional Real Assets Advisory business at Deloitte, added: “Our regional transport business is a key area of growth where we support public and private sector clients across the connected topics of economic growth, development and transport.”


Funeral giant Dignity, which has sites across the North East, has appointed Kate Davidson as the firm’s next top boss.

She will take over from Gary Channon as the company’s next chief executive officer from June 10. The current chief operating officer, who has over 15 years’ experience in the funeral and crematoria industry, has been serving on the company’s board since the start of the year.

The appointment comes five days after Dignity reported a “weak” performance over the past three months after a drop in the death rate.

Shares slumped after it was revealed that death numbers had tumbled by 19% to 166,000 over the quarter.

Dignity was among the funeral firms witnessing a surge in deaths during the pandemic but is now coming under pressure from the successful vaccination programme and regulatory scrutiny over prices for customers.

“It is my honour and privilege to have been appointed by the board to lead Dignity at such a critical time in its history,” Ms Davidson said.

“I am excited to bring a fresh perspective as we continue to deliver our new strategy during a period of structural, regulatory and societal change.

“Whilst my long-term aim is to build a strong and enduring business that delivers a high quality service, I am passionate about shaping a new organisational culture within what is a fairly traditional industry.”

Mr Channon said: “I have been working with Kate since she rejoined Dignity; she is an impressively effective executive who I believe will make an exceptional CEO.

“She also lives and breathes the principles and values of this new Dignity.

“We have been working interchangeably for some time and so the handover will be seamless. There remains a lot to do and I intend to continue assisting Kate and her team in any way in which I can.”


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