Safest People, Safest Places

Service Leadership Team biographies


Stuart Errington

Stuart Errington, CFO 

Chief Fire Officer Stuart Errington joined what was County Durham Fire Brigade in January 1993 as a firefighter.  He has had a wide and varied operational career serving at a number of fire stations and in support departments across the Service. Stuart was appointed Chief Fire Officer, on an interim basis, in August 2015 becoming the first person in the Service’s history to progress internally from firefighter to chief officer. His appointment was made substantive on 21 March 2016. 

In 2006, Stuart spent two years seconded to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) as a Business Change Manager attached to the National Resilience Programme for Fire and Rescue Services. He became a Principal Officer (Assistant Chief Fire Officer) in 2009 and was promoted to Deputy Chief Fire Officer in 2012.  

Between 2011 and 2017 Stuart held the elected position of National Secretary of the Association of Principal Fire Officers (APFO). He sits on the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Performance Committee which has responsibility for ensuring the NFCC strategy is delivered. He represents the NFCC at the Inclusive Fire Services Working Group, leads on the national procurement work stream for fleet and Chairs the Draeger User Group. In July 2017 Stuart took over as Chair of the County Durham and Darlington Local Resilience Forum.

In order to drive income generation to help mitigate cuts to central government funding, Stuart established the Service’s Community Interest Company (CIC) in 2013 and chaired the board of directors until stepping down when he took over as Chief Fire Officer.  

Stuart has been a Graduate of the Institute of Fire Engineers since 1998, gained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Leicester in 2007 and a Master of Science (MSc) in Managing Organisational Performance from Cranfield University in 2011.  In January 2014 he successfully completed the Business Directors Programme with Cranfield University.

Sarah Nattrass

Sarah Nattrass, ACFO

Sarah joined County Durham Fire Brigade in 1994 serving as a retained firefighter at Stanhope fire station for two years before joining the wholetime service in 1996.  Sarah has served her wholetime career in Cumbria Fire Service and Cleveland Fire Brigade before returning to County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service in 2000.  

She has had a wide and varied career serving at a number of fire stations and within support departments across the service gaining a wide range of operational, managerial and leadership experience. Sarah specialised as the Quality Assurance Manager in Training, Risk Manager, Operations Delivery Manager, Head of Organisational Development and Head of Workforce Development.

Sarah was appointed as Assistant Chief Fire Officer on 14 February 2018 and is a member of the Service Leadership Team with strategic responsibility for the Service’s support functions which include, Training, Assets, Assurance and Workforce Development.  

In 2016 Sarah gained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Teesside University.

Dominic Brown

Dominic Brown, ACFO

Dominic joined the service as a firefighter on 15 November 1993. He served operationally at Bishop Auckland and Peterlee fire stations and then, following four years as a service training instructor, he returned to Peterlee in 2004 as a watch manager. Following time in specialist roles such as the service’s New Dimension Officer and Incident Command Manager he returned to form part of the district management team in the Wear and Tees and then Durham districts. In 2011 he joined the management team within the Community Prevention and Protection (CPP) section with responsibility for community safety and legislative fire safety and became the CPP Group Manager in 2013. He was promoted to Area manager in 2014 and has subsequently managed the ‘Training & Risk’ and then ‘Emergency Response’ elements of the Service.

Dominic is currently acting as Assistant Chief Fire Officer with organisational responsibility for Emergency Response and Community Risk Management and is a member of the service leadership team. He works at the Service HQ in Belmont, Durham and gained his Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduating with distinction from Teesside University in 2015. 

He is a board member of the Services Community Interest Company and also it’s trading company Vital Fire Solutions. Dominic is married to Rebecca and has three children.


Tony Hope

Tony Hope, Head of Corporate Resources and Treasurer 

Tony holds the position of Head of Corporate Resources and is also Treasurer to the Fire and Rescue Authority. His responsibilities include finance, HR, estates, ICT, procurement, corporate communications and secretarial services. Tony is also a Director and Company Secretary for the Authority’s trading arms, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue CIC and Vital Fire Solutions which were formed recently to enable trading with the private sector.
Tony qualified as a CIPFA member in 1986 and his background is in local government having previously worked for Durham County Council and North Tyneside Council before joining County Durham and Darlington Fire Service as Head of Corporate Resources. He has over twenty years experience of working with the fire and rescue service in a finance capacity. 


Area Managers

John Walkden

John Walkden

Biography to come.


Keith Wanley

Keith Wanley

Keith joined the Fire and Rescue Service in 1992 after serving for 5 years in HM Armed Forces with the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment.  During his Fire Service career Keith has gained a broad range of operational, managerial and leadership experience at supervisory, middle and strategic level.  He has served operationally on several fire stations and in managerial posts as a District Manager, Operations Manager and as a Flexible Duty Officer, but has also specialised as the Training Manager, Community Safety Manager and as Head of Organisational Development.  In 2013 Keith graduated with distinction from Teesside University with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

Keith’s role in the Fire Service has required him to work closely with partner agencies such as the Police and Local Authorities, developing and delivering multi agency plans to reduce community risk and increase community safety.  His current role as an area manager gives him strategic responsibility as a member of the Service Leadership Team and as Head of Operations Delivery he has responsibility for all operational fire stations, command and control which take emergency calls and mobilise the Service’s resources and the community protection and prevention teams with responsibility for providing advice to and auditing businesses on fire safety matters and community safety education to the public.

Steve Wharton

Biogratphy to come.


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