the eaga Trust team

Our small team approaches helping our members in a different way from the norm; we are less about complicated forms, lots of small print or hidden terms, we believe in talking to our members about their ideas and, where these fit with the aims of the Trust, we try to help as people who have faith in people.

Meet the team…

Richard Marr

Chief Executive Officer

My background is in finance having trained as a Chartered accountant with PwC and working in audit before moving to the Corporate Finance team at PwC where I worked for 8 years.  During my time at PwC, I had insight and experience of employee ownership models whilst working with North-East based businesses that were sold to Employee Benefit Trusts to perpetuate the employee ownership model.  After a spell as finance director for a renewable energy company, I joined the eaga Trust as COO in November 2014.

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my wife and 3 sons enjoying the beautiful Northumberland countryside.  This is usually exploring the hills and moors on bike or on foot, camping or developing our garden.  As a complete contrast, I am trustee of a charity that brings internationally renowned classical, jazz and traditional musicians to our rural location.

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Shirley Blacklock


I was a member of the People Development team in eaga and a Partners Council representative, supporting eaga partners and the business. Prior to eaga, my background covers Retail Banking, Local Education Authority, Contact Centre and training roles.

My professional interests and qualifications include NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and Coaching and my personal interests beyond home and family life, include Boot Camp – outdoor training no matter what the weather; wind, rain, snow and sometimes even in the sunshine! I also enjoy cycling and most weekends include a bike ride round the quiet roads in Northumberland. I like it best when the route includes a ‘coffee n cake’ stop.

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Clare Mattison


I worked as a member of the eaga Regional Network Management team in Scotland, following this I became the Regional Manager for the Digital Switchover Scheme helping to roll out the Communities Programme nationwide. In my previous careers I have been involved in the veterinary field, co-owned and managed a restaurant and worked for a marine biotech and veterinary virology company.

Out of work I enjoy walking my dogs in the great outdoors and spending time with my family and friends.

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Michael Rose


I worked in the renewables market for 11 years at various levels and in a wide range of roles such as operational management, field services management and depot management. The majority of these years were spent working at Eaga Home Services in Rochdale.  After leaving the renewables sector, I set up and ran my own small business carrying out EPC’s, floor plans and professional photography for estate agents. The funding for training to start this venture was provided through the Trust’s Skill-builder programme.

During my personal time I enjoy spending time with my family, friends, girlfriend and dog. I’m a huge Manchester United fan so enjoy watching them, well most of the time. I also like going to the gym, watching films and have a passion for history.

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Louise Buxton


Before joining the Trust, I worked for a Housing Association for 18 years in the ICT Team as a Service Desk Officer and more recently as a Project Manager implementing a new Electronic Document Management System.  The best aspect in all of my roles has always been working with colleagues and customers and seeing them develop.

Outside of work my husband and I like to travel, sometimes in the UK with our grown-up children and black Labrador or abroad on our own, experiencing different cities and cultures.  I enjoy swimming and reading and have recently taken up relearning French at a local conversation group.

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Claire Turford


Before joining the eaga Trust I fulfilled a very rewarding career in higher education, implementing and delivering customer projects and managing a global community of over 100,000 members worldwide.

I am a friendly, values-driven individual, and I’m very much looking forward to working with the Trust team in supporting Members.

Outside of work I enjoy cooking, the beauty of nature, being outdoors and embracing the element of being spontaneous from time to time. I love a game of squash, experiencing new adventures and most of all spending time with my family.

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Blanche Debenham

Executive Assistant (Business funding)

My position is part-time and I work three days a week with primary responsibility for the administration of the Business Funding loans.

Before I joined the eaga Trust, I worked for Eaga plc as an in-house solicitor. Previously I had worked in private law practice for 9 years.

I live with my partner Phil who is a stained glass Artist.  Living with us are our two very naughty Bengal cats and our much loved miniature Schnauzer, Sassy.  When I’m not working I enjoy welding scrap metal sculptures and pottering in the garden.

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Yvonne Hall

Holiday Home Property Manager

Previous to my appointment with the eaga Trust, I worked in HR for 15 years and am CIPD qualified. In 2001, I decided to have a career change and my last role was working in the property market where I ran my own Property Management Company. In 2012 I was awarded the prestigious titles of “Regional property Woman of the Year” and National “Property Woman of the Year” by the National Landlords Association for outstanding services to the industry and it’s clients.

For leisure, I attend body pump and spinning classes, as well as occasionally playing my guitar, which is not quite as strenuous. I am a great lover of travelling and some weekends I enjoy a little retail therapy and a spot of lunch with friends.

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Bernadette Atkinson

Holiday Home Property Manager

Prior to joining the eaga Trust I spent a rewarding, and challenging number of years in the commercial, residential and holiday property industries.  My various roles in the holiday property sector involved  portfolio management,  inspections and grading to Tourist board standards, property recruitment and compliance, alongside hotel inspections.

Outside of work, in between time spent with family, and dog walking in and around Northumberland, I am a keen swimmer and passionate gardener. I also renovate property with my partner and am currently nearing the end of our latest project on the edge of the Northumberland moors.

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Helen Dodds

Executive Assistant (Holiday Home Bookings & Operations Support)

I provide support to the Chief Operating Officer and the Senior Ambassadors.

Before joining the Trust, I worked for a local charity as a Business Support Manager.  A role with lots of variety and exposure to different areas of business. Previous to this role I have worked for many years in various senior business support roles in the public, private and charity sectors at both senior CEO and Board level.

I enjoy the variety of this role and making a contribution to the Trust.

Away from work most weekends are spent walking with my Husband and friends. I also enjoy baking and creating floral displays for weddings and special events.

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