Darlington: 01325 469188 Hartlepool: 01429 273492 Northallerton: 01609 780909

Meet the Team

Darlington Office

Hartlepool Office

Northallerton Office

Stephen W. Gardner

Stephen W. Gardner F.C.A.

Our Senior Director, Steve joined us from Price Waterhouse in 1986 and became a partner in 1991. He is in charge of our Darlington and Hartlepool offices.

Steve deals with all types of businesses and has particular experience of:

  • Larger businesses including those requiring audit;
  • Not-for-profit organisations including those requiring independent examination or audit;
  • Agricultural businesses;
  • Medical practices.

Away from work, he is married to Julia, has 2 children, Sarah and James and 2 Old English Sheepdogs. His interests include distance running (as a keen member of Darlington Harriers), music (classical piano to pop) and Sunderland Football Club.

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Elizabeth Wilkinson

Elizabeth Wilkinson B.Sc, F.C.A.

Liz attained a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences from Leicester University and qualified as a Chartered Accountant at our Northallerton office before moving to our Darlington office in 1990 where she was appointed Manager in 2011.

She has gained experience of a wide variety of small and medium sized businesses, providing accounts, tax and other advice and support as required.

Liz is married with two children and enjoys hill walking with family and friends, badminton and reading.

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Linda Smith

Linda Smith MAAT, A.T.T.

Linda joined King Hope in 1985 and is a qualified accounting and taxation technician. She deals with a wide range of clients from sole traders to companies, charities, and businesses in the agricultural sector. Her main areas of expertise are in audit and accounts preparation but she also specialises in personal tax issues.

Linda was born and educated in Northallerton, is married with three children and enjoys keep fit.

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Robert J. Allison

Robert J. Allison A.T.T.

Rob joined our firm on 1st May 1984 and became a member of the Association of Taxation Technicians in December 1994.

Since joining, Rob has worked at all our offices in various management roles and has a portfolio of clients of various sizes and business sectors. Additionally he was appointed Administrative Manager in May 2011.

Outside work, Rob is married to Joanne and has a daughter called Nichola. He enjoys playing golf on courses around the North East whilst being a member of Knotty Hill Golf Centre.

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Sarah Gardner

Sarah Gardner Dip ABRSM LRSM

Sarah joined King Hope in 2015 and is currently studying towards her ACA Chartered Accountancy qualification.

Sarah prepares accounts and tax returns for all types of client, especially those in Agriculture.

Prior to joining King Hope, Sarah held the Winifred Christie scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied classical piano performance. Sarah has performed as a soloist at many prestigious venues across the UK, including the Royal Albert Hall which was broadcast on Classic FM.

Outside of work, Sarah still enjoys music and sings in a choir, likes running with her family and spending time with her families’ two Old English sheepdogs.

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Julia Gardner

Julia Gardner MAAT

Julia joined King Hope in 1987 and qualified with the Association of Accounting Technicians in 1993.

After initially working in a full time accounts preparation role, she moved to become cost clerk after having her children.

She now works at both our Darlington and Hartlepool offices on a part time basis.

Outside work she enjoys running, time with her family, and her two Old English Sheepdogs.

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Denise Wilson

Denise Wilson

Denise studied with the NECC whilst working for a local firm of Accountants and gained her Association of Account Technicians qualification in 2001. Denise joined the firm in 2006, and has experience of book-keeping, sole trader and partnership accounts and small limited companies.

Outside work, Denise enjoys spending time with her family and cycling.

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Paul Cutting

Paul Cutting B.A

Paul received a BA (Hons) in Economics from Northumbria University in 2005 and worked as a management accountant until 2016 whilst working towards his Chartered Management Accountant qualification.

He joined King Hope in 2017 as the Payroll and VAT clerk for the Darlington office.

Paul lives in Ferryhill with his partner Faye and his daughter Rosie, and enjoys running, annually competing in various marathons.

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Susan Tilly

Susan Tilly BSc(Hons)

Susan graduated with a BSc(Hons) in Mathematics and joined King Hope in 1984. She deals with the preparation of accounts and tax returns for a wide range of clients including sole traders, partnerships and small companies.

Outside work Susan enjoys travelling, gardening and yoga.

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Tracey Goddard

Tracey Goddard

Tracey joined King Hope in 2016 as the Receptionist/Secretary at the Darlington office.

Tracey moved to County Durham in early 2015 and is originally from Surrey, where she had worked for a firm of Chartered Accountants for over 24 years as a senior secretary.

In her spare time Tracey enjoys exploring County Durham and surrounding areas with her young son Stanley.

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Reece Perkins

Reece Perkins

Reece began as an apprentice in 2015 at an accountancy firm in Crook, where he trained for 2 years before joining King Hope as a Trainee Accountant at the Darlington office in 2017.

He completed his Level 3 AAT qualification in 2017 and is currently working towards his Level 4.

Outside work, he enjoys regularly going to the gym and watching his favourite football club Sunderland AFC.

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Paul Spaldin

Paul Spaldin

Paul has over 20 years experience in advising a variety of sole traders, directorships and limited companies, helping them with accounting, tax and compliance matters.

In recent years he has served on the Board of Directors of Hartlepool Golf Club Ltd and continues to act as Treasurer. This gives Paul a detailed understanding of the practical issues which arise in the day to day operations of a business.

Paul joined the firm in 1985 and became Manager of the Hartlepool office in 1989. In his spare time, Paul is a keen golfer playing off a handicap of 5.

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Brian Dodds

Brian Dodds F.C.C.A.

Brian was born and educated in Hartlepool and began his accountancy career in 1986 after successfully passing a one year Foundation Course at Teesside Polytechnic.

He joined King Hope in 1992 and since then has become fully conversant with a vast array of accounting systems, both manual and computerised.

He qualified as a member of Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in 1997, subsequently becoming a Fellow of the Association in 2002.

Brian therefore has 23 years experience in the preparation of accounts for both corporate and unincorporated clients including pension schemes and charities, and has specialist experience of clients requiring an audit.

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Pauline Ranson

Pauline Ranson

Pauline joined the firm in 1986. She is a qualified Accounting Technician who now specialises in Payroll and VAT, dealing with a wide variety of businesses.

Outside of work, Pauline is a keen runner and is an Honorary Life Member of Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers.

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Emma Benson

Emma Benson

Emma originally joined King Hope in 1991 as a Receptionist and over two spells of employment has now progressed to Senior Secretary in the Hartlepool office.

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Lorraine Brown

Lorraine Brown

Lorraine joined King Hope in 2013 as a Receptionist, having previously worked as an Administrator.

Outside of work Lorraine enjoys listening to various types of music, reading and gardening.

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Sarah H. Anderson

Sarah H. Anderson B.Sc, F.C.A.

Sarah is the Director in Charge of our Northallerton office. She qualified from Wye College, University of London with an Honours Degree in Agricultural Economics.

Sarah then spent twelve years with Price Waterhouse Coopers in both Hull and Newcastle specialising in their Small Business and Landed Estates Departments.

Sarah joined King Hope in 2002 and acts as a general practitioner specialising in all aspects of accountancy and taxation matters for owned managed businesses, Charities and individuals.

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Katie Spence

Katie Spence

Katie joined King Hope in April 2002 and is a CIMA passed finalist.

She covers a number of roles including accounts preparation for sole traders, partnerships and limited companies preparation of tax and VAT returns and payroll back up.

Katie lives in Leyburn and enjoys supporting West Ham, watching all sports and going to concerts.

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Jordan Ward

Jordan Ward

Jordan joined King Hope in the Northallerton office over a year ago and is currently progressing in her AAT Accountancy qualification and Apprenticeship programme and hopes to learn new skills over the years.

Outside work Jordan enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

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Megan Tonks

Megan Tonks

Megan joined the Northallerton Office in 2013 after completing her A Levels. In 2017 she completed her AAT Accountancy qualification and apprenticeship. Megan assists the client managers with Accounts, VAT and Tax Return preparation.

In her spare time Megan takes part in eventing with her horse and other country pursuits.

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Jane Thompson

Jane Thompson

Jane has worked for King Hope since 1994 both in the Darlington office and more recently at the Northallerton office.

Jane is one of our Secretaries and is the first point of contact for our clients either face to face or by telephone.

She enjoys socialising with friends and family, caravanning and gardening.

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Neil Herod

Neil Herod

Neil is originally from Leicestershire and started working in accountancy at Duncan & Toplis Chartered Accountants before moving to the area in 1999.

He has previously worked for local practices Hanby & Co. and more recently Armstrong Watson before moving to King Hope in 2016.

He is involved in the preparation of Accounts, VAT returns, Personal Tax returns and is also knowledgeable in the operation of Sage software.

In his personal life he spends time with his young family and is also a keen cyclist.

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Claire McGarry

Claire McGarry

Claire joined King Hope in 2005 after graduating from York University with a degree in Mathematics. She completed her accountancy training during her first few years with King Hope. Claire supports the Director at Northallerton in managing her client portfolio focusing particularly on farming businesses having grown up on a mixed arable and livestock farm.

Outside of work Claire is involved in her local Church and enjoys baking and gardening in her spare time.

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Matthew Till

Matthew Till

Matthew joined King Hope in 1997 and now runs the payroll department in the Northallerton office dealing with the payroll administration for a varied portfolio of clients ranging from those with employees from 1 to 120.

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Peter Kilvington

Peter Kilvington

Peter was born and educated in Northallerton and joined King Hope on leaving school in 1972.

Peter therefore has many years experience in preparation of accounts for businesses, (Corporate, directorships and individuals) and dealing with the day to day tax and VAT compliance issues that arise for them and for individual taxpayers and providing general advise and guidance for small businesses.

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Colin Shaughnessy

Colin Shaughnessy B.A., F.C.A.

Originally from Wearside, Colin trained as a chartered accountant after graduating from Nottingham University. He qualified in 1985 and joined King Hope in 1989.

After working at our Darlington office for 25 years including as Audit Manager, Colin recently took over as Manager at our Northallerton office where he brings a broad range of experience, including of family companies.

Colin is married with two daughters and enjoys hill walking, woodturning and supporting Sunderland A F C.

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