Peter Nailon has two grown up daughters, a nurse and chartered accountant, and lives with his partner in upper Weardale. He has worked with the Trust since its creation in 2008, initially as a founding Trustee, becoming full-time director in 2012. He attended the London School of Economics 1977-1981, then spent 2 years working on farms in Australia. On returning to the UK he worked in logistics with Scottish & Newcastle and Asda Stores, 1983 to 2006, before making a career change, initially as a volunteer, into the environmental sector. Peter, with his commercial background, is working to develop specialist water and soil management services, and to attract foundation financial support, from business, and from the wider community. The Trust, under his leadership, is addressing the global environmental challenges of biodiversity loss, water quality and availability, flood risk, carbon capture, access and amenity at the local and catchment scale.
Claire has a degree in Geography and taught at secondary school level for nearly 20 years before embarking on a career change and completing an MSc in Hydrogeology and River Management at Newcastle University. Recently Claire has been working with Durham County Council and Groundwork North and South Tyneside as an Education Assistant, delivering environmental education, including Forest School, to Key stage 1 and 2 pupils. Claire's Masters dissertation was conducting research into Natural Flood Management in Upper Weardale.
Mark joined the trust in September 2021 to work within an innovative project to develop sustainable drainage solutions (SuDS). A community led approach to SuDS will be created over the next 5 years with hopes it can be scaled up across the sector. Mark has a degree in History and more than twenty five years’ experience in the community and voluntary sector in community buildings, project and event management. Mark has extensive experience working and volunteering within his community which should be very useful in his new role engaging with local residents, groups and businesses. Before working for the trust Mark was a Durham County Councillor from 2013-21 and Stanley Town Councillor 2017-21.
Away from work Mark is a school governor, charity trustee and athletics coach. He also enjoys fell running and cross country.
Michael joined the WRT in November after 35 years working for the Environment Agency, North East. He brings with him a vast fisheries knowledge and a wide range of monitoring techniques in fresh and saline water environments. He has previously volunteered helping out with the INNS management in the Wear catchment and enjoyed it so much that when the opportunity to work for them came along he jumped at the chance. He is a keen angler in a local fishing club and also coaches rugby union referees in his spare time.
Steve joined the trust in February 2022 as a project officer. He has 23 years experience of working as an Operations Manager and Project Manager in both the private and not for profit sector and has extensive experience of woodland and wildlife management. He now looks after the Cool Waters project developing new woodland areas along the river and tributaries.
Paul joined the Trust in July 2016 as a Project Officer. He has a degree in Environmental Biology and an MSc in Environmental Management. Paul has previously worked at the Tyne Rivers Trust and with the Environment Agency in a number of roles. He has a wealth of previous experience in monitoring freshwater ecology and co-ordinating and delivering habitat improvement projects.
Paul is experienced in tackling INNS through practical activities and the use of volunteer networks through community engagement. Paul has a wealth of experience in stakeholder engagement to raise awareness of the impact of INNS with particular regard to riparian INNS. The Trust maintains a catchment wide database of INNS records and is engaged in the use of Citizen Scientists to map and inform a practical strategy to eradicate INNS. Paul is co-ordinating remote sensing research into the rapid identification of INNS on the Wear with Newcastle and Durham Universities and has a wealth of knowledge to support the regional INNS strategy aims.
Kirstie has worked for the Trust since June 2017 in the capacity of Office and Business Development Manager. She has a strong financial background working as a Financial Controller for a PLC in the Nuclear sector for 10 years then prior to joining the Trust, running her own business. She is a qualified Accounting Technician as well as having management qualifications and is currently studying for Level 4 Certificate in Professional Marketing which she will use to further develop Corporate Sponsorship for the Trust. Outside of work Kirstie enjoys the outdoors regularly open water swimming and tending to her horses
Martin joined the Trust in September 2017 to work primarily on the EU Intereg Topsoil Project. Having spent his working life in I.T. Martin decided in 2012 to change career and pursue a degree in Geology (UCC), followed by a MSc in Hydrogeology and Water Management (Newcastle University). Martin's primary interests are GIS, Data Management, Opportunity Mapping, Hydrological Modelling, and Mine Water Remediation. He is now the WRT IT Manager, supporting project development, delivery and reporting. Through his part time secondment to the Rivers Trust data team he has good visibility of national data management developments and opportunities.
Helen joined the Trust in February 2019 as the part time Office Administrator. She has a strong secretarial background of knowledge and experience in office procedures and protocols which will aid and enable the Trust office to run efficiently.
Rebekah joined the Trust in January 2020 as a Project Support Officer and has since progressed to Project Officer in February 2021. She has a degree in Environmental Geography and an MSc in Ecology and Wildlife Conservation. Rebekah has previous experience of working with volunteers to carry out habitat improvement and is particularly passionate about conserving the uplands for the benefit of both wildlife and future generations. A large part of achieving this involves preserving areas in which native species are still flourishing and promoting their recovery in areas in which they are declining by managing invasive species. Rebekah has experience of this through her previous work and as part of the Wear Invasive Non-Native Species (WINNS) Project in which she has worked with colleagues and volunteers to survey and map the distribution of Himalayan Balsam, Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed, and carried out practical management tasks to begin the process of eradicating these species from priority areas. Controlling the spread of such non-native species throughout the catchment and beyond will help prevent native flora being outcompeted and allow the unique and important habitats of the Wear catchment, and the species which rely on them, to thrive for years to come.
Thomas joined the Team in April 2021 as Farm Advisor. He has a degree in Agricultural Business Management and has two years of experience as an Assistant Farm Manager. Thomas has a keen interest in improving soil health with direct drilling, and he is a member of Base UK. Thomas’s main project is topsoil; topsoil aims to measure nitrogen in groundwater and the effects that cultivation and soil type have on nitrogen retention. The goal will inform farmers about how nutrient management can affect the environment. For example, excessive nitrogen application will pollute groundwater. It is crucial to Sunderland, where they rely on their groundwater for mains water and holds around 150 years of water supply without being recharged. If it were to be polluted, it would make Sunderland dependent on the reservoirs in the northeast. Thomas is also involved with carrying out farm assessments and identifying areas of diffused pollution on-farm; these assessments aim to reduce small pollution sources, mainly phosphate and nitrates. The evaluation also provides financial support for farmers to meet non-compulsory regulations. Additional goals of these reports are to link with topsoil to help farmers improve soil health.
Stefan joined the Trust in 2022 as a Project Officer and is involved in a number of catchment partnership projects. He has a Geography degree from the University of Sheffield and emigrated to Australia in 2011 to work in Natural Resources. Since arriving back in the UK Stefan has worked in the Construction sector, managing projects across a broad client base in the West Midlands, mid and North Wales. He spent most of 2021 living and working in a campervan whilst traveling the British Isles and Ireland, eventually relocating permanently to the North of England to join the Trust.