0191 307 7117

Our Team

Meet the County Durham Sport Team and Board

Beth Donkin

Business Support Manager

Beth is responsible for County Durham Sport’s finances and administration, providing effective and efficient support to the executive team and trustees.

She also supports the development and utilisation of evidence and insight for County Durham Sport, ensuing all insight gathered is shared across the county.

07841 340 482 | beth.donkin@countydurhamsport.com

Ian Gardiner

Executive Director

Ian is responsible for the provision of effective and high quality strategic and operational leadership of County Durham Sport with and on behalf of the Trustees. His focus is on the delivery of County Durham Sport’s vision, mission and business objectives and the outcomes identified by Active Durham, for the benefit of residents in County Durham.

07860 503 996 | ian.gardiner@countydurhamsport.com

Becks Lippe

Assistant Director (Participation)

Becks works to support County Durham Sport’s vision, mission and business objectives and the outcomes identified by Active Durham.

Becks leads the operational application of an evidence based approach, manages customer and partner engagement as well as ensuring successful programme development and delivery.

07715 077 266 | becks.lippe@countydurhamsport.com

Nigel Barton

Chair

Former Chair of Coast & County Housing and Managing Director at System Training Ltd.

Nigel has a wealth of experience at a Director level across a range of Industries including an Apprenticeship Training company, a Mental Health Trust and TNT Express.

Most recently, Nigel was the Chair of Coast & Country Housing – a charity based in Redcar.

Meryl Levington

Vice Chair

Head of Student Futures, Department of Academic Enterprise, Teesside University.

Meryl’s two passions in life are entrepreneurship and athletics. She runs a company that supports people to grow or start up a business, delivering a range of interventions from workshops to coaching and mentoring, which was set up on the back of an MA in Entrepreneurship from Durham Business School.

Meryl is a long distance runner and has competed up to international level.

Meryl is passionate about encouraging young people to get into sport early so it becomes a natural part of their lives and daily routines, and activities that allow families to do sport together.

Meryl lives in Durham and is married to a mountain biking, football playing, Software Architect and has a daughter who is currently into ballet and running.

Dave Shipman

Trustee

Retired. Previously – Strategic Commissioning Manager at Durham County Council Adult Services, responsible for Mental Health, Learning Disability, Autism and Prison social care services.

Before retiring Dave worked as a Strategic Commissioning Manager with Durham County Council Adult Services, responsible for Mental Health, Learning Disability, Autism and Prison social care services, having previously worked for 20 years in Children’s Services in a range of roles as a social worker and manager.

Dave is a life-long Leeds Utd supporter and loves both rugby league and rugby union, played and now watch both codes. He is also a keen cyclist and has been lucky enough to cycle in many countries around the world, having organised many trips away with friends.

Dave is a serious runner and a very active member of Elvet Striders for all of its 30 years, so has experienced the trials and tribulations of volunteering in sport from a number of perspectives, including as captain, chairperson and social secretary.

Dave’s aspiration for CDS is for sustained success, as evidenced by the increased involvement of people from all backgrounds in an increasing number of sports and physical activities.

Debra Forth

Trustee

Owner of Relax Kids Durham and Go Forth Fitness and Wellbeing.

Debra owns ‘Relax Kids Durham’ and ‘Go Forth Fitness and Wellbeing’ having previously worked as a HLTA and Primary PE Specialist.

Debra has a passion for sport both on a personal level and also passing this on to children to empower them to achieve throughout all aspects of their life.

Debra also has experience of managing an U10 mixed Football Team which has been instrumental in establishing girls football within the local community

Wendy Emberson

Trustee

Coach & Committee Member – Greencroft Netball Club.

Wendy is a Finance Manager for a Charitable Organisation which provides volunteer drivers and domiciliary care to vulnerable people in the community, based in Ferryhill.

Wendy has both played and coached sports at a club level and has been an active influence in growing Greencroft Netball Club into a well-respected and successful organisation and remains on the club committee. She does however have a wide interest in sport.

Roy Patel

Trustee

Kieran Spencer

Trustee

Student and Regional Engagement Officer

Kieran is currently a student, studying sports science with coaching at Northumbria University, and is a Regional Engagement Officer with the FA National Youth Council.

Kieran is passionate about personal development and youth leadership, as well as trying to forge positive relationships between young people and adults.

As a member of the County Durham Sport board, Kieran hopes to fully represent the views of young people in County Durham, and to have an input into decision making from a young person’s perspective.

Phillip Ray

Trustee

Programme Manager – Public Health

Philip has worked in the health sector for 13 years for variety of public sector organisations and currently works for NHS England. Philip is passionate about sport & physical activity and the impact it has on physical, mental and social health.

As a Trustee Philip wants to help support the organisation to help improve the quality of people lives in County Durham through involvement in sport and physical activity.

Philip has been involved in sport all his life and is his main interest away from work.  He is currently a member of Elvet Striders.

A-Z Meet The Team

Beth Donkin

Business Support Manager

Ian Gardiner

Executive Director

Becks Lippe

Assistant Director (Participation)

Nigel Barton

Chair

Meryl Levington

Vice Chair

Dave Shipman

Trustee

Debra Forth

Trustee

Wendy Emberson

Trustee

Roy Patel

Trustee

Kieran Spencer

Trustee

Phillip Ray

Trustee