The Trust

Trustees have overall control of a charity and are responsible for making sure it’s doing what it was set up to do…they act out of a desire to help people and make positive changes. (The Charity Commission)

Auckland Castle is run by the Auckland Charitable Trust which was established in 2012 with the aim of restoring the Castle, its art collection, the Deer Park and gardens to their former glory, ensuring they remain open to the public for generations to come. 

The Trust’s ambitions are high – and if we are to achieve them we will need to raise well over £10m to fund the restoration and redevelopment of the site.  The Trustee Board’s role is to help find future sources of funding, but also ensure that current monies are being well spent. 

The Trustees

Dr Malcolm Rogers CBE FSA,
Malcolm was brought up in Yorkshire and Rutland.  He began his museum career at the National Portrait Gallery in 1974, where he specialized in early English portraiture, latterly serving as Keeper and Deputy Director.  In 1994 he was appointed Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, retiring in 2015 as the longest serving Director of the Museum and Director Emeritus. 
Nick Turner,
Nick read Economics at Cambridge and then qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Touche Ross. Since 1989 he has been a private equity investor and was one of the founding partners of HgCapital on its buy-out from Mercury Asset Management plc in 2000. Nick also has a passion for youth work, including a role as mentor to vulnerable young people on the TurnAround project of Wilderness Foundation UK.
Jonathan Ruffer,
Jonathan grew up in North Yorkshire, read English at Cambridge, trained as a barrister, and then moved into the investment world, setting up Ruffer LLP in 1994. His hope is to be an encouragement to those who work so hard for the good of others and for those who seek to work but have not had the opportunity.
Dr Robert McManners O.B.E,
Bob has been GP to four Bishops of Durham and is a keen sportsman, artist and illustrator. Born in Co Durham he has worked tirelessly as Chairman of the Bishop Auckland Civic Society to preserve the town’s gems including the viaduct, the Town Hall and the Zurbaran paintings at Auckland Castle.  Bob was awarded an OBE in 2013.
Lady Riddell,
Sarah Riddell has a background in journalism and arts publishing. She has been vice chairman of the Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust, served on research ethics committees and an advisory body on clinical trials. She is currently chairman of the John Ellerman Foundation, and a trustee of the Pilgrim Trust and of the Sir James Knott Trust, which gives grants to charities in the North. Her late husband, Sir John Riddell, was Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland.
Lady Nicholson,
Sarah Nicholson is heavily involved in several North East charities, including a trustee of the County Durham Community Foundation which provides grants to local initiatives.  Sarah has championed the region for many years alongside her husband, Sir Paul Nicholson, former Lord Lieutenant of County Durham.
John McDonnell QC,
John read Greats at Balliol College Oxford (where he was President of the Union) and then went to Harvard Law School.  After that he worked in the United States Congress, the Conservative Research Department and HM Diplomatic Service. John is now a QC practising in the Chancery Division as the Head of Thirteen Old Square Chambers in Lincoln’s Inn and also in Hong Kong. He lives in a 14th century tower house in County Durham and has conducted much research on the development of Auckland Castle.  He has also served as a Trustee of the Bowes Museum and the Trireme Trust.

The Management Team

Lynda Sale,
Strategy and Marketing Director
Lynda has over twenty-five years’ experience as a strategic marketing and communications director. Before working at Auckland Castle, she was a founder partner of SaleOwen, an independent brand strategy and research consultancy. She started her career working in advertising and communications agencies, latterly as Director of Research and Planning and Board Director of Valin Pollen Ltd then the largest corporate communications agency in the UK, working on blue chip clients such as Visa International, and Unigate plc.
Jane Ruffer,
Chair of the Executive Committee
Jane Ruffer is married to Jonathan and along with being a wife, mum, daughter and dog walker has been a doctor, a lecturer, a school governor, run a national help line and been trustee of various charities and a hospice. She likes encouraging people to have a go and realise their potential and is a big fan of life-long learning. 
David Ronn,
Managing Director
David has managed some of the North East’s finest built and natural heritage over the last 20 years. He joined the Auckland Castle as Project Director in 2013, and now holds the position of Managing Director. Previously he was Director for the National Trust’s Yorkshire and North East Region, and the Managing Director at Alnwick Castle and The Alnwick Garden.  David is married with three children. Outside of work he enjoys fishing, gardening and history, and is presently restoring a 70 year old wooden yacht.
Liz Fisher,
Operations Director
Liz joined the staff in January 2014.  She previously worked for the National Trust as Assistant Director of Operations in Yorkshire and the North East.  She worked for the National Trust for over 25 years and her background is in Community and Volunteering as well as operational management.  She led the National Trust’s campaign to Save Seaton Delaval Hall in Northumberland. This involved community, developing the business plan to enable £13million investment in the site and, once the National Trust had acquired the property, ensuring the site was operationally ready.  In 2014 her initial focus will be developing the Heritage Lottery Fund activity plan, community consultation and development, visitor experience, and operational effectiveness.
Peter Chapman,
Company Secretary
Peter is a retired Certified Accountant. His career started in taxation with HMRC before joining KPMG (when it was Peat Marwick Mitchell) as a tax consultant in their London Office. He later moved to Barclays Bank as Assistant Head of Central Taxation, responsible for their international tax compliance. In what he calls his ‘second career’ he became a Finance Director in the voluntary sector with Scripture Union, The Leprosy Mission International, and Interhealth Worldwide. He has many Trusteeships with local charities and community organisations, currently including A Way Out and Stockton Baptist Tabernacle. Peter grew up on Teesside and returned, out of passion for North East England, in 2003.
Rebecca Coates,
HR and Corporate Services Director
Rebecca joined Auckland Castle Trust in April 2012 and immediately began to develop the Castle’s commercial offering, including bringing private events and weddings to the Castle.  Rebecca is now also responsible for Corporate Services and manages the compliance, human resources and internal communications functions. Passionate about the local area and the project as a whole, Rebecca is keen to develop new and exciting ways for people to get involved with the Castle, including working with local colleges on apprenticeship schemes and creating work experience opportunities. Having lived a stone’s throw from the Castle as a child, Rebecca now lives in Weardale with her husband and two sons.
Dr Christopher Ferguson,
Curatorial Director
Chris was appointed in July 2013. With a background in museums, he was involved in the redevelopment of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and the Arts Council England renaissance in the regions funded programme: Oxford ASPIRE. His academic research (University of Oxford) examines the material culture associated with early medieval monasticism and settlement in Northumbria, including Aucklandshire. He has been developing key curatorial policies and procedures, appointing a team consisting of Clare Baron (Courtauld) and Andrew Ferrara (University of Leicester and Ashmolean) to further strengthen this discipline. He has also brought a focus and vision to the collection and visitor offer and will be instrumental in developing interpretation, and learning and education programmes.
Chris Bramley,
Head of Finance
Chris, who joined the Auckland Castle team in October 2013, is a Chartered Accountant with over 20 years involvement in several organisations across a number of sectors. This follows a 10 year career with KPMG. Chris is particularly involved in shaping the financial infrastructure of the Trust and ensuring financial probity and efficient use of resources to meet the varied demands of the project. When not acting as a taxi to his children’s varied interests, his own interests include football, walking and exploring the less visited parts of the USA. He lives with his wife, 3 sons and 2 daughters in Durham.