Meet the Team


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.


Equally valuable to us, and we hope you, are the Senior and Junior Accountants and Administrative staff who support those of us listed above.

Although too many to list, we would particularly note the following who each have over 20 years service:


Susan Tilly


Pauline Ranson

Julia Gardner

Emma Benson