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Business & Economy

New year honours in the North East

Key members of the region’s business community are recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list 2016

Nickie Gott (pictured)

Durham entrepreneur Nickie Gott has been awarded an OBE for services to women into business and female entrepreneurship in the North East.

Nickie, 49 founded events company She’s Gott It! in April 2002 and is a previous winner of the North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, NE Entrepreneur of the Year and the region’s Best Small Business award. After being named North East Woman Entrepreneur in 2007, Nickie became actively involved in supporting and growing the region’s female business community and entrepreneurs.

Her commitment to growing the region’s female talent pool led to her forming the North East Women’s Advisory board, part of the North East Chamber of Commerce, in September 2012. Through this group Nickie actively supports and promotes female entrepreneurship, as she believes passionately in the need to use networks and mentors to grow regional talent.

On being told of her OBE, Nickie said: “I was swept away with shock and gratitude when I opened the letter to see I have been being recommended for this prestigious honour. Championing women to start and grow their own business is my big passion, so being nominated especially for my services to women into business is wonderful.”


Sarah Stewart

The chief executive of destination management and marketing agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI), has been awarded an OBE for services to the North East economy.

Sarah has led the organisation which markets the area nationally and internationally to attract visitors, conferences and events, and investment, for the past six years. As chief executive, Sarah has played a critical role in leading the organisation’s promotion of NewcastleGateshead – changing outdated national and international perceptions, attracting growing numbers of leisure and business visitors, securing new conferences, events and investment and delivering significant economic impact for the area. Under Sarah’s leadership, the visitor economy in NewcastleGateshead is now worth £1.3bn and supports over 19,000 jobs, the destination was last year voted Favourite UK City by Guardian readers and major events such as the National Tourism Awards were secured for NewcastleGateshead.

Sarah said: “This is a wonderful but completely unexpected surprise. I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the work of the whole NewcastleGateshead Initiative team – it is a truly remarkable organisation and I am proud to lead such a dedicated and talented team of individuals, without whose hard work, creativity and dedication we could not have achieved such positive results for the region.”


John Riddle
Former long-serving Northumberland National Park Authority chairman, John Riddle, has been awarded the OBE.

John’s OBE is awarded in recognition of his outstanding services to Northumberland National Park Authority. John took on the role of chairman of Northumberland National Park Authority in June 2001 and served in this capacity with distinction for 14 years (the longest of any chairman of an English National Park). John always championed the involvement of young people throughout his period of leadership; since 2009, he led the Authority in the development of The Sill (the UK’s first Landscape Discovery Centre), a primary aim of which is to engage young people from all communities with our landscapes.

Commenting on the award, John Riddle said: “I feel very privileged to accept this honour for my work in the community and with Northumberland National Park. We are all fortunate to work in this uniquely beautiful landscape and to have our efforts recognised is of course very gratifying. I would like to thank those who put their trust in me by allowing me to lead the Park Authority for so many years. 2016 sees the 60th anniversary of the creation of Northumberland National Park so this is a wonderful way to begin such a special year.”