Meet Our Team

Richard Shell

Richard Shell

Owner

In 2014 Richard came up with the idea of creating Doxford Barns wedding venue, subsequently leaving his job in banking to create and run the business. Due to his hard work and commitment Richard has created an award winning wedding venue where couples can enjoy a 3 day wedding experience. Richard’s vision is to provide guests with a wedding experience in a happy, fun and relaxed environment. Now Doxford Barns is flourishing in its second year, Richard’s role has a strong emphasis on expanding the business and developing our unique offerings to ensure we are at the forefront of the North East wedding industry. In his spare time Richard loves to travel, meeting friends and family on his way.

David Fordham-Scott

David Fordham-Scott

General Manager

David joined our award winning team in August 2016 and brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to Doxford Barns. David spent 11 years working as a senior Manager at The Alnwick Garden where he was heavily involved in establishing the project as a destination wedding venue as well as managing the world famous Treehouse Restaurant. During his time at The Alnwick Garden David worked closely with Her Grace Duchess of Northumberland gaining many awards and accolades along the way. David is privileged to have served HRH Prince of Wales, Prince William, Prince Harry and a whole host of public figures and celebrities. David’s attention to detail and desire to please ensures all guests receive the very best service possible. When not caring for our guests David enjoys spending time with family, friends and his dog Missy.

Jess Straker

Jess Straker

Wedding & Events Coordinator

Jess joined the team as an events manager in January 2016 and has a vital role in running many of the weddings here at Doxford Barns. Jess’s work ethic and excellent customer service is shown within all aspects of her daily work. In her spare time she enjoys walking up huge mountains and making wacky birthday cakes for family and friends.

Gemma Nicholson

Gemma Nicholson

Operations Manager

Gemma has worked within food and beverage for several years and brings a wealth of experience to Doxford Barns. Gemma worked under our General Manager, David, for 11 years at The Alnwick Garden, during that time they became a great team and an unstoppable force. Gemma prides herself on her outstanding organisational and customer service skills, and even admits to having slight OCD when it comes to keeping things neat and tidy. In her spare time, Gemma enjoys family days out with her husband Mark and their 2-year-old son Charlie.

Abi Sutheran

Abi Sutheran

Wedding & Events Coordinator

Abi joined the team in March as a Wedding and Events Coordinator after two years working as Cabin Crew for British Airways. Abi has always loved to travel and she felt very fortunate to visit such interesting places all over the world whilst working for BA – but nowhere compares to home! Throughout her 9 years of working in the hospitality industry, Abi has loved nothing more than working with others to ensure a top quality customer experience – a great attribute that she endeavour’s to continue with at Doxford Barns. In her spare time, Abi loves to take her Golden Retrievers Bernie & Trudy for walks on the gorgeous beach of Seahouses, or chill out with a good book and a cuppa!

Charlie Johnston

Charlie Johnston

Wedding & Events Coordinator

Charlie joins us fresh from university, where he was awarded a BA (hons) in Hotel Management. Charlie has experienced working in top luxury London hotels and brings a wealth of knowledge of the hospitality industry to our award-winning team. He maintains high levels of service and rapport with our customers throughout their end to end event planning experience, whilst his high levels of attention to detail ensures that we exceed all of our customers’ expectations. In his spare time, Charlie enjoys dining out and exploring the surroundings of his new home here in Northumberland.

John Blackmore

John Blackmore

Executive Head Chef

We are thrilled to welcome the award winning John Blackmore as our executive head chef at Doxford Barns. John brings a wealth of culinary knowledge and flare to Doxford Barns, trained by the famous German chef Peter Kromberg and previous winner of the prestigious prize of chef of the year whilst at the Intercontinental Hotel Group. John also cooked for HM Queen while executive head chef at Newcastle United Football Club after being recommended by her daughter Princess Anne. When John isn’t cooking up a storm in the kitchen he enjoys walking and exploring the beautiful countryside of Northumberland.

Ethan McDougall

Ethan McDougall

Chef de Partie

Ethan joined Doxford Barns in March 2017 and likes to think of himself as our Executive Head Chef John Blackmore’s surrogate son! Ethan was trained in-house at the AA 2 Rosette restaurant at Doxford Hall.  Since then, he has worked in a variety of local restaurants to expand his knowledge on a variety of cooking styles and techniques. Ethan loves experimenting with new flavours and presentations and is a keen pastry chef. His cooking inspiration came from Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay, which is perhaps where his fiery personality comes from! In his spare time, Ethan enjoys cooking for friends and family, keeping fit and playing the odd game of cricket.

Simon Debbage

Simon Debbage

Commis Chef

Simon joined Doxford Barns in June 2017 and is the young gun in the kitchen! He was trained in-house at the Jolly Fisherman in Craster and loves experimenting with food and flavours. Inspired by his Grandmother, Simon has loved working with food from a young age. In his spare time, he likes to enjoy the countryside and local pubs with his Labrador Purdey, playing football with his friends and is also a trained Falconer – spending his free time at Kielder Birds of Prey Centre. Simon wishes to expand his knowledge of food and techniques under our Executve Head Chef John Blackmore and is excited to progress his career in the kitchen at Doxford Barns.

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