NECS Board


Marjorie Hunter, Founder Director

Marj is the founder Director of North East Counselling Services and a qualified counselling practitioner. Her positive energy, dynamism and passion for improving mental health and wellbeing in local communities are the major driving forces behind North East Counselling Services. With over 30 years history in the financial services industry Marjorie possesses skills and experience in the key business areas of strategic planning, personnel management, training,  recruitment and quality assurance. Marjorie believes in using local knowledge and experience to influence change from the ground up.


Leon Howe, Director

Leon’s role as a Director includes strategic planning, marketing and PR, and developing the FELIX and PQASSO business performance systems. Leon joined the Board in October 2012 and has helped support North East Counselling Services from its conception in July 2006 when working as an Economic Development Officer for Gateshead Council and other business support roles. He has a creative mind and a flair for innovation and testing out new ideas and initiatives.


Katie Hutchison, Children and Young Persons Director

Katie is a fully qualified children’s counsellor and her key role to the North East Counselling Services Board is to develop and enhance current children and young people’s services. Katie has a wealth of experience in human  resources and previously ran her own business. She originally started with North East Counselling Services as a volunteer and then became a staff member providing counselling in schools in Gateshead. Katie has recently pioneered a revolutionary new peer support group system in Gateshead schools for young teenagers and continues to help children and young people.


George King, Chair

Dunston-based George, who runs his own business consultancy, brings a wealth of experience to develop new high level strategies to help move NECS forward. He spent 18 years in the Royal Navy and has recently made good use of his problem-solving skills working with small and medium-sized enterprises helping them to develop and maximise opportunities. George is a qualified paralegal and has worked with Newcastle University. With a reputation for calm precision, George brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and dynamic thinking to NECS.


Deborah Todd, Non Executive Director

Deborah works for Edberts House, a charity based in Gateshead, leading on their social prescribing project after helping to set it up. Deborah provides advocacy support for patients around health and has been involved with designing processes, completing monitoring and funding applications, and developing evaluation tools. Prior to this she worked as a Project Manager for an international development charity. Deborah graduated with a degree in law from Newcastle University in 2010 and is about to start a Masters of Law alongside the Legal Practice Course and assists the NECs board with legal and strategic support.


Adora Ibokwe, Non Executive Director

Adora is the Global Channel Operations Leader at GE Oil & Gas. She has worked for GE in a number of roles including Commercial Finance Manager since joining in 2000 and has a BSC in Computer Science. Adora brings a broad range of skills and experience to the board including risk management; process improvement; operations management and excellence. Adora has helped NECS in improving its services and to manage risk.


Gail Thurston-Chiddy, Non Executive Director

Gail is the Global Finance, Planning & Analysis Manager for PII Pipeline solutions (a GE Oil & Gas & Al Shaheen joint venture). She has worked at PII for 15 years in a variety of finance roles and prior to that was Company Accountant at Dewhirst Ladieswear, Management Accountant at Jaycare Packaging & Trainee Accountant at Searle Pharmaceuticals where she qualified as an ACCA accountant. Gail brings her wealth of commercial & business experience to the North East Counselling Services board to secure future growth & success of this crucial service.