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Liz Neale

I am Gateshead Kestrels’ Chair and was instrumental in its formation in 1984.

Gateshead Kestrels was originally formed to allow young people with a range of additional needs to access appropriate sport and physical activities through a comprehensive club, regional, national and international pathway.

I have been active in the governance of a number of disability sports organisation including DSE and EFDS (now Activity Alliance) as an Executive Trustee for over 25 years until 2014.

I have delivered clubs and attended many regional and national events as Team Manager for both Gateshead Kestrels and Northern Region.

My continued involvement and commitment to Gateshead Kestrels is driven by the importance and invaluable contribution that participation in sport and recreational activity has on the positive physical and emotional health of young people.

Keith Vincent

I am the Gateshead Kestrels secretary and have been involved since 2007.


In that time, I have co-ordinated the out of school hours learning programme and the National and International Residentials visits.


I have delivered after-school clubs over five nights of the week. I have also

attended and coached young people in Regional and National level competitions in athletics, swimming and boccia, as well as a wide range of local competitions such as football, trampoline, tri-golf and cross country.


I am an experienced Duke of Edinburgh Award leader and have led numerous Expeditions and Residentials groups. This has enabled a large number of young people to achieve their Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.


The best part of my role within Gateshead Kestrels is that I get to impact and, hopefully, inspire young people to have a lifetime in sport, exercise and healthy living. I also love the relationships that are built up with young people outside of the classroom in a new, challenging environment.

Personally, my favourite sports are football and basketball. I have previously competed in the National League in Basketball and Northern League in Football. I am still playing football locally and I am hopeful of playing in the over 40s leagues in the near future.

Steven Middlemiss

I have been involved with Gateshead Kestrels since 2014 and currently act as club treasurer.


I help to deliver weekly after-school clubs, as well as supporting our members to attend regular excursions such as Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, regional and national sports competitions and our annual ski trip to Italy.


I take great satisfaction in helping to provide our club members with life-changing opportunities to access high-quality sport and physical activity alongside our dedicated club volunteers.


Prior to getting involved with Gateshead Kestrels, I spent many years coaching various sports, both in the UK and abroad. I enjoy taking part in numerous sports myself, including football and golf, and try to lead a healthy lifestyle through completing regular exercise.

Peter Dent

I have been volunteering for Gateshead Kestrels for over 15 years and enjoyed every minute. During this time, I have ran countless after-school clubs, residentials and trips. During these activities, I have witnessed the importance of extra-curricular activities and the value they add to the lives of young people.

I believe that through offering young people the opportunity to take part in meaningful sporting activities, they can develop physically, mentally and socially, leading to well-rounded and confident individuals with clear and lasting pathways for future life.

I currently work as a PE teacher at Cedars School. Therefore, I understand the importance of individualised training programmes. This personal approach allows all club members to identify, challenge and expand boundaries linked directly to specific needs and abilities.

Personally, I have played and competed in many sports, however rugby has always been my favourite, in which I have played at club, county and national level. I also like to keep fit through regular gym, training and outdoor activity sessions.


Rebecca Morton

I am Rebecca Morton and I attended Gateshead Kestrels clubs and went to lots of competitions with them over the years. I started going to the clubs when I was in primary.

My first sports competition was the Mini Games in Stoke Mandeville. It was here that I realised I absolutely loved competing.


Kestrels got me involved in Boccia and I found I had a talent for it. I progressed right through to the Boccia England camps and competed successfully at a national level.


Without the Kestrels, I would not have realised my full potential.



Gordon Neale OBE

I served 26 years in the Army followed by 28 years with Disability Sport England as their CEO. I was awarded OBE in 2002 for outstanding contribution to disabled sport.


I was an Olympic Torch carrier and commentator at the Paralympics in 2012. 


I believe my knowledge and experience will add to the team and I aim to help provide a secure sporting and physical development pathways for all our young people.

Mark Fairclough

I have been involved in the Gateshead Kestrels for many years. This club got me involved into sports at a very young age at Cedars Academy where I competed in regional/ national swimming and athletics sporting events over the years. They also helped me achieve my Duke of Edinburgh bronze silver and even gold while I was a student at Cedars academy, I Also did a leadership programme where I gain a lot of quality’s and skills through this. This club helped me gain my level 1 and level 2 in swimming teaching. 

I have developed so my skills through this club such as confidence in myself, gaining a lot of knowledge and skills through the years.  

I have volunteered for many years with the Kestrels and have helped out in 5 clubs a week also residential, sports trips, skiing in Italy and Duke of Edinburgh’s. 

I work as a Level 3 Teaching assistant at Cedars Academy where I support in PE and also have taught many participants too swim over the years. I have always enjoyed swimming and teaching it as it’s a life skill I think the children gain a lot out of it. As they physical, emotional and social development can improve through this. 

I also give my full commitment and it’s a delight in helping children and young people become successful and achieving the best they can possibly through sporting and physical activities.


My favourite sports are swimming and football, as I used to compete nationally in swimming and I enjoying playing 7 a side football in goal. I also like to keep myself active and fit doing lots of exercises and running. 


Rebecca Aitken

I have been involved with Gateshead Kestrels as a trustee member since January 2015 when I first started working at Cedars Academy.

In this time I have been involved in and delivered after-school clubs several nights a week. I have also attended, coached and prepared students for events such as the Gateshead Schools Dance Festival, and Regional and National competitions in Swimming, Athletics and Boccia.

Residential visits provide great experiences for our young people and this is something I am passionate about and enjoy being involved in. I love skiing and taking young people to Italy for the annual ski trip as well as residentials in this country. I have years of experience leading Duke of Edinburgh groups, which has enabled young people to achieve their Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards, overcoming challenges in different environments and building relationships.


I have a passion for the outdoors and a keen interest in Health and Fitness. I enjoy hiking in the countryside, CrossFit, dance and sea swimming, and have previously played netball in the Durham League. I also enjoy travelling, embracing different cultures and have previously relished in opportunities such as “Camp America”.

The best part of my role within Gateshead Kestrels is inspiring young people to participate, enjoy and achieve success in sport; but also motivating them to strive for a lifetime of a healthy active lifestyle and develop positive long lasting relationships others.

Julie Vincent

I am Head of College at Cedars Academy Trust.  I studied Business Management at University before studying for a PGCE (Post –Compulsory Education and Training).  I worked in a variety of roles within Business and Education before joining Cedars Academy as a Post 16 Teacher in 2010. 

Having worked to develop sporting, coaching and leadership pathways for young people with additional needs, I am passionate about ensuring that there are opportunities for young adults with SEND to progress and develop physically, socially and emotionally and to lead healthy, independent and fulfilling lives.


Martin Flowers

I am Chief Executive of Cedars Academy. ​Our aim at Kestrels is to provide challenging and life-changing experiences through sport and outdoor adventurous activities.....  opportunities that help prepare our young people for healthy adulthood.....to grow to become intellectually, emotionally and socially 'Fit for Life'.