The DfC Committee
Jo Potter – Chair
Jolyon (Jo) Potter has enjoyed a long and varied career in both the public and private sectors. He joined the Diplomatic Service in 1971 and served in the Foreign Office in London and later in Budapest, Brussels, Dublin and Cairo before returning to London in 1982. While abroad he maintained his interest in amateur dramatics culminating with the role of Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed in the extensive tropical gardens of an Embassy property on Zamalek Island in The Nile. The performances attracted the interest of a wealthy Egyptian entrepreneur who offered the opportunity to establish a professional English troupe of players in Cairo. Life might have been very different!
As a result of leaving the Diplomatic Service in 1984 for the British Overseas Trade Board, Jo was introduced to the world of overseas tradeshows as an Event Manager supporting British firms to exhibit in West Germany (as it was then). From there he moved to an industry body responsible for developing their programme of tradeshows. In 1989 he formed Trade Fair Support Ltd to manage the export promotion programmes of other industry bodies. Although travelling extensively to tradeshows during this period he was still able to maintain his interest in theatre and was Chair of The Heath Players in Kent until moving with his family to Darlington in 1995.
Shortly after moving to Darlington he and his wife formed Darlington Green Theatre and with the active support of the Council brought open-air Shakespeare performance back to South Park. Sadly, as a result of safety and security issues, open-air performance had to be restricted and the future of Green Theatre hangs in the balance. Jo remains active in amateur theatre, supporting STARS at St Augustine’s and as Chair of DfC, promoting other Darlington drama and music groups. He sings with Darlington Choral Society and his continued trips to his company’s HQ in Maidstone afford him the opportunity to attend London theatre and concerts on a regular basis.
Heather Carter – Volunteer Co-ordinator
Heather has worked for more than 30 years in the NHS both as a general, psychiatric and children’s/neonatal nurse and has experience as an NHS Board Member, both in an Executive and Non-Executive capacity. She has had the opportunity of running large organisations and became familiar with the governance requirements to do that safely.
Her experience has been gained by working in multi-disciplinary teams and working closely with patients to ensure services are fit for purpose. Once retired she volunteered for three years on the Independent Monitoring Board of Deerbolt Young Offenders Institute as well as being a volunteer with the homeless charity First Stop Darlington.
She is now a committee member and the Speaker Secretary for the local branch of the Darlington and District National Council of Women with whom she spoke at the National Conference on Women in Prison.
She is a founding member of Darlington for Culture and believes the town needs Arts and Culture to flourish so it can enrich and improve the lives of all the people who live in it. It is her firm belief that Arts and Culture make a significant contribution to the ongoing economic life of the town.
Her role as Volunteer Co-ordinator has consisted of setting up a service in 2010 to recruit and support volunteers. In 2017 she worked with Darlington Hippodrome, as part of their Heritage Lottery Bid, to form a partnership of Darlington for Culture and Darlington Hippodrome for the provision of the volunteer service. This was then renamed Darlington Culture Volunteers. The volunteers make a significant contribution to bringing Arts and Culture new and repeat events to the area. She is continually seeking to recruit new volunteers across the whole spectrum of Darlington and the surrounding areas society. Many of these volunteers will go on to find paid work in their chosen areas.
Heather also enjoys volunteering at events herself and meeting new people and old friends.
Glenda Lynn – Volunteer Co-ordinator
Glenda is one of the co-ordinators for Darlington Culture Volunteers. She has been a member of Darlington for Culture since late 2010 when she was asked if she’d be interested in helping Heather Carter set up the DfC volunteer service.
Since retiring from the NHS, Glenda has become a Committee member for DfC and is pleased with the way both the volunteer service and the organisation are developing.
Glenda is a keen consumer of the arts and very much enjoys going to the theatre, music and singing in a local choir. She is also a member of a range of other groups in the town and can honestly say she doesn’t know how she ever managed to find time to go to work.
Helen Devonshire – Media Officer
Helen is a freelance sub-editor for magazines and websites and has worked for, in no particular order, Take a Break, Bella, Occupational Health, Employers’ Law, That’s Life, eordirect.co.uk, XpertHR.co.uk, PC Pro, General Practitioner, Horticulture Week, Design Week; Management Today, BBC children’s magazines, Nintendo, MetalHammer, Auto Express, Mini World, and New. Academic background includes a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and MA in Modern Drama Studies and an MA in Arts Management and Heritage Studies from University of Leeds.
Helen regularly goes to the theatre, galleries and all types of music events, and plays the cello in the community group Darlington Orchestra. She volunteers with DfC to help promote and support theatre productions, exhibitions and other events in the town.
Ann McMorris – Secretary
Ann joined DfC in September 2013, initially as part of the volunteering Ambassadors Scheme, which brought a variety of plays to Darlington. She joined the committee in 2017 with the specific brief of working with the community of Cockerton to keep open Cockerton Library. After the Judicial Review related to Crown Street Library, Cockerton became part of the council’s review of Library services. In April, she took over from Matt Roche as secretary.
Ann’s background is of working in the public sector both in health and social care. Her interests are varied and include old black-and-white films, the theatre, watching most sports, walking and swimming.
Kath started her working life in the secretarial sector followed by a spell in retail before moving to her current career in the pharmacy business as a technician. She is also a TAQA assessor in Customer Service and Retail Management.
In addition to the day job, Kath is a director of the Forum Music Centre in Darlington. One of her roles there is Volunteer Co-ordinator along with running the in-house Film Club with a colleague. Kath’s big passion in life is music followed closely by theatre, literature and the arts in general.
Kath is a long-term member of DfC and joined the committee in 2018, and she is now part of a team with other local organisations and individuals working through a process to obtain Purple Flag status for Darlington town centre.
Julie manages the organisation’s Small Grants Fund.
Ian Ross – Treasurer