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ONE of the North-East’s most high-profile charities has welcomed the appointment of a new senior manager as a “hugely exciting opportunity”.

Jo Wallis has joined Butterwick Hospice as Head of Marketing and Fundraising after spending almost 30 years building a career with the multi-national fairtrade charity Traidcraft.

Butterwick chief executive Debbie Jones said: “Jo brings enthusiasm, knowledge, skills and experience that will be of enormous benefit to the hospice. It’s a hugely exciting opportunity for us to grow as an organisation.

“She has worked across fundraising, marketing, sales and legacies – all the areas that we need to be pulled together. Her time with Traidcraft also brings a retail and commercial perspective that will be invaluable.”

Jo was born in Belfast and moved to Stockton when she was five after her father secured a management role with the Rank Hovis McDougall food company. The family later lived in Lanchester, County Durham, when he moved to Sunblest, based at Team Valley, on Tyneside.

After graduating from Sunderland University, Jo joined Traidcraft as a mail order assistant in 1990. She progressed to become Sales and Marketing Manager.

Jo said it was “an absolute privilege” to be joining Butterwick Hospice, adding: “It is an organisation that is widely admired and which makes such a difference to the lives of so many families.”

She said she had been deeply moved during a visit to the hospice, prior to her interview, when a number of patients went into the chapel to sing Christmas carols.

“I found it really inspirational and I knew then that I wanted to work here and be part of it,” she said. “There’s a perception that hospices are places where people go to die but I’ve been struck by what a positive place it is. When people come here, they feel part of a family.”

Jo, who has a 20-year-old son, Ben, at university, lives close to the Butterwick’s Bishop Auckland site.

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