NEW CHALLENGE: Susi Stevenson, the new operations manager at The Witham
NEW CHALLENGE: Susi Stevenson, the new operations manager at The Witham

THE long and winding road has brought Beatles fan Susi Stevenson back to where she once belonged to take up the position of operations manager at Barnard Castle’s arts centre.

Ms Stevenson grew up in Barney before moving to Liverpool where she worked for The Beatles Story Museum and Strawberry Field.

She has returned to manage the overall operation of The Witham, allowing the arts centre’s director Amy Hughes to concentrate on making the venue a self-sustaining centre of cultural excellence.

Ms Stevenson said she was pondering a move back to Barney, where her daughter and two grandchildren live, and felt it was meant to be when she saw the opportunity at The Witham advertised.

“I had an amazing career in Liverpool,” she said.

“The Beatles Story is the number one tourist attraction within The Beatles industry with 400,000 visitors a year.”

After nine years at the museum, where she was catering manager, Ms Stevenson then went to work for the Salvation Army at Strawberry Field, where she was front of house manager for more than four years. Strawberry Field combines an exhibition that tells interweaving stories of the house, The Salvation Army, John Lennon’s childhood, and the writing and recording of Strawberry Fields Forever, with a project to help young people aged 18-25 with learning difficulties into employment.

Before heading to Merseyside, Ms Stevenson attended Teesdale School in the 1990s and started work at the Jersey Farm Hotel (now Runa Farm) and the Morritt Hotel before enjoying a stint in sales and marketing at Ballantines, in Darlington.

“I was umming and ahing about whether to move back to Barnard Castle when I saw the job advertised and I thought this was meant to be,” she said.

“I feel as if I can bring my skills and experience to The Witham and I am looking forward to the challenge. This is just the most amazing opportunity.”

Ms Hughes said: “Susi’s arrival marks an exciting moment for our team, as we recognise the invaluable roleshe’ll play in shaping our success. Her expertise and leadership experience in business operations will bring a fresh perspective and a high level of efficiency.

“We’re ready to embark on a journey of collaboration, innovation, and shared achievements. Welcome aboard Susi.”