Our Board

Wayne Hemingway MBE

Alongside Gerardine, Wayne built Red or Dead into a globally-celebrated label and, after 21 consecutive seasons on the catwalk, sold it in a multi-million-pound deal. In 1999, fresh from the sale of Red or Dead, Wayne and Gerardine embarked on a new adventure: HemingwayDesign. Other than his BSc degree in Geography and Town Planning (which, surprisingly, have become very useful!), Wayne spent 6 years as a Design Council Trustee Board and having been with CABE for a decade since its inception (as Chair of Building For Life), has been a Mayors London Leader and currently supports the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan as a Design Advocate. He is an advisor to House of Commons Select Committees on coastal regeneration, got an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list of 2006, is a Professor in The Built Environment Department of Northumbria University, a Doctor of Design at Wolverhampton, Lancaster and Stafford, and an Honorary Fellow of Blackburn College, the University of Cumbria and Regents University. Wayne is one of the founders of the festival.


In the 70’s Gerardine immersed herself in the ever-changing fashions of the time and made all of her own clothes. In doing so, she paved the way for one of Britain’s best-loved fashion brands to take flight. Now, having sold Red or Dead and founded HemingwayDesign, you can see Gerardine’s handiwork across our entire architectural and product portfolio, including The Staiths South Bank, a 750 property mass market housing project on Tyneside for Taylor Wimpey Homes, the much publicised Workplace, and IOD at 123, the new wing for the Institute of Directors, and many, many more. In June 2006, Gerardine was awarded an MBE for services to design in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, and has a Doctorate from Plymouth Uni, Lancaster Uni, Stafford and Regents University. Not bad for a lass that left school at 15, eh? Gerardine is one of the founders of the festival.

Susanne Baker FRSA

Susanne Baker FRSA is a Partner in ERM’s EMEA technology team. ERM is the world’s largest pure play sustainability consultancy. She has dedicated her 25-year career to sustainability after studying environmental science at Kings College London (on a whim) and where the penny dropped that change needed to happen and fast. Mainstream sustainability has been a key driver for her throughout her career. It was after speaking on a panel at the Festival of Thrift in 2021, she was drawn to formalising her relationship with the Festival, recognising the potential it has to mainstream (joyfully) sustainable living. Beyond work, Susanne is mum to two boys and a very independent salt and pepper Schnauzer called Benji.

Beth Hodgson

Beth is Editor in Chief of RCABmag, a local lifestyle magazine. The magazine champions local independent businesses and showcases the best of Redcar | Cleveland and Beyond. Teamed with the magazine is a Facebook community called Local Women in Business which connects and supports female entrepreneurs in Teesside. Before COVID Beth’s career was in the music industry where she was sales and marketing manager for a music marketing company with a huge portfolio of high quality theatre shows. During lockdown Beth felt inspired to help support local businesses in any way she could, from sharing posts on social media to interviewing local female entrepreneurs it was this experience that led Beth to take the leap and start her own magazine in August 2021, she wanted to produce a digital publication with a positive, inclusive and community supported ethos behind it.  Beth has a huge passion for her local area, she is a Redcar and Cleveland Ambassador, regularly attending meetings, offering her advice and working on freelance projects to help raise the profile of the local area.


Lorna currently works in volunteer development, improving the volunteer journey at Scope, the disability equality charity. From the age of 11, Lorna has actively worked in charities, particularly in peer support and mentoring as well as being a media ambassador for anti-bullying and mental health. Lorna was an award-winning Welfare Officer whilst completing her degree in Psychology at Durham University. Her skills in active listening and creating change, particularly around diversity, bring a different and invaluable perspective to the board. She is also an accomplished public speaker and is passionate about educating others on the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion. Lorna has a passion for exploring and finding joy in natural places, whether these are fields, forests or beaches. A committed advocate for sustainability, particularly for making this accessible to all sectors of our community, she brings passion, dedication and joy to the Festival of Thrift board.

Julie Ward

Julie has worked in the cultural sector all her life, at Mid-Pennine Arts and Contact Theatre in Manchester early on in her career, then running festivals in Coventry, Nottingham and Durham as well as becoming the Director of a regional disability arts organisation for the north of England. In 1986 she co-founded Jack Drum Arts which is now County Durham's longest-established professional community arts organisation. From 2014 to 2020 Julie was an MEP for the north west of England, becoming Labour's spokesperson on Education and Culture in the European Parliament. More recently she curated an online arts programme for the refugee welcome network, City of Sanctuary, and managed an international education cultural exchange programme as part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. She is a board member of Culture Action Europe and a volunteer organiser for Culture Declares Emergency. 

Nina Byrne

Nina Byrne works with people from all walks of life to deliver executive, life and workplace coaching. She is passionate about supporting individuals and organisations to achieve their goals, fulfil their potential and thrive. Before retraining as a Coach, Nina spent over 25 years working in the arts and cultural sector. She has held senior arts marketing and communications roles at high-profile northeast based arts and cultural organisations, from National Youth Choirs of Great Britain to Dance City, to Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. She has invaluable experience and insight into the culture, structure, communication, and leadership that leads to effective and successful organisations. She is a committed and passionate advocate for Festival of Thrift, championing the positive impact it continues to have on people’s lives, supporting sustainable living and celebrating creativity in all its forms.


Ravneet is passionate about supporting Festival of Thrift CIC to its next growth stage through their 12 years of experience in business development, government proposal/bid writing, and extended networks. The new research from OnePoll showed that 69% of Britons believe it is a personal responsibility to help reduce their climate footprint, with 63% wanting their energy to come from renewable sources. Ravneet thinks that the festival can support the wider community and enable them to lead better and more sustainable lives. With 11 years of professional work experience with 8 years in senior management roles, the long-term goal of Ravneet’s is to stimulate innovation and strategic collaboration between sustainable organisations for enhancing the economic and social potential of UK technology and sustainability businesses. Their passion lies in solving social and environmental challenges via implementing innovative solutions with a penchant for digitalisation, information technology, and international commercialisation. Exceptional Talent visa receipt as an emerging leader in the energy and digital sector.

Isabel Nicholls

Isabel grew up in Saltburn-by-the-Sea and has continued to live in the Tees Valley. Her career has included several local authorities in the area, most recently in roles focused on town planning and economic growth, and she is now a Civil Servant. Isabel has been interested in sustainability and social policy since studying related subjects and has continued these interests through her career. Although she confesses to having very limited artistic talent, Isabel very much enjoys participating in creative activities and she is especially interested in how organisations such as Festival of Thrift can bring people together to further shared visions and goals in a positive and inclusive way. She is committed to the Tees Valley and loves the opportunities that living here brings for enjoying the seaside and countryside, as well as leisure and entertainment. Alongside her role at Festival of Thrift, Isabel is also a Director of Whitby and District Riding Club, a non profit organisation promoting and supporting participation in amateur sport.

Join our board


We continue to want to host the best possible large scale free gathering each year to celebrate and share sustainable living, as we build our year-round programme and establish ourselves more deeply in Redcar.  And we therefore need more diverse voices, more expertise, and more energy to make it all happen!

As we consolidate our organisation and take on staff on a more formal payroll basis, we are looking to expand the small Board of first Directors of our community interest company to more fully reflect the communities in which we work and to help us in our strategic development. This is an important moment of change for us and a great time to welcome new people on board. 


Festival of thrift welcomes you

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