What makes the perfect pub? Great ales, good food, an inviting atmosphere and the warmest of welcomes.
At The Inn Collection Group, we proudly stay true to our pub roots, creating inns where everyone would like to eat, drink, sleep, and explore from. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, along with investments and training in our staff, our environments, and the communities around our inns while making sure we are the best we can be.
Our people are the key to the success of the group. These are exciting times for The Inn Collection Group as we evolve and grow. Our team provides us with proven expertise and stability, while delivering outstanding customer service and experience.
Sean Donkin — Managing Director
With more than 19 years in the hospitality sector, Sean has an outstanding track record. As well as maintaining the high-quality service and facilities that mark out The Inn Collection Group, Sean’s focus is leading the growth and expansion of the company, both within and further afield from its North East heartland.
He is also responsible for the ongoing operations and investment of the group’s units via the Board. Sean joined the business as general manager of the group’s top-performing unit, The Bamburgh Castle Inn in Seahouses in 2008.
A former swimmer, sporting enthusiast Sean enjoys rugby and shooting.
Ian Goulding — Chairman
A successful track record in the hospitality sector over a period of 24 years, Ian brings a wealth of experience to the Group.
Ian was the co-founder and Chief Finance Officer (CFO) of QHotels group, a collection of 26 large four-star UK provincial hotels with turnover of £200m. Prior to QHotels, Ian co-founded and was CFO of Paramount Hotels for 10 years. As non-executive chairman Ian will provide support and advice to the management team to help them steer the group through expansion whilst maintaining everything that is unique about The Inn Collection Group.
Ian tries to spend as much of his leisure time outdoors, whether it’s cycling, trekking, climbing, or running.
Keith Liddell — Executive Deputy Chairman
Business founder Keith Liddell has over 35 years’ leisure sector management experience.
His breadth of experience encompasses various management and director roles, including Imperial Inns and Taverns, Whitbread Inns, and Wessex Taverns. In his role as Executive Deputy Chairman of The Inn Collection Group, Keith has responsibility for the group’s strategic evolution and achieving acquisition targets to meet the company’s growth plan.
As an ex first-class rugby player with Swansea his current sporting interests include shooting and rugby.
Paul Edwards — CFO
Paul joined the group from local bus operator Go North East where he led the finance function, focussed on business partnering with operational, commercial and engineering teams to influence decision making, drive contract wins, review fare strategy, challenge process efficiency and deliver underlying profitability.
Go North East is a subsidiary of The Go-Ahead Group plc where Paul spent 9 years leading the group finance function, responsible to the main Board for reporting teams, key banking and debt relationships and group internal and external audit.
Outside of work he is an active member of his local community, is a keen cyclist, competes in the occasional half marathon and spends a lot of time with his wife Helen walking their two dogs.
Kate Bentley - Rooms Director
Kate started her career in creative Marketing Agencies before moving into the world of hospitality revenue management. She co-founded a Revenue Management Consultancy 12 years ago and worked with hotels and inns nationwide to yield manage their rooms and drive profitability.
She worked with the Inn Collection Group on a Consultancy basis, presiding over a dramatic increase in bedroom sales across the group. After 2 years she finally came on board full time to head up Marketing, Reservations and Revenue.
Spreadsheets aside she enjoys time spent with family, friends and her dog. She occasionally breaks into a run but says her marathon days are behind her.
Charlotte Turner — Office Manager & PA to MD
An integral part of The Inn Collection Group and committed to ensuring its continued success, Charlotte has been a part of the company’s continual evolution for over 12 years.
Charlotte joined the group in 2008 as part of the award-winning Bamburgh Castle Inn’s front of house team. Her diverse sets of skills were soon spotted and she went on to be assistant manager at Bamburgh Castle Inn and The Hog’s Head Inn. Combining a positive, proactive attitude with a friendly, professional service, Charlotte oversees the day-to-day smooth running of the office. As well as being the first point of contact for the Group, Charlotte is PA to managing director, Sean Donkin.
Charlotte loves spending quality time with her family, taking the dogs for walks along the beach together, and indulging in a couple of the group's legendary Gin Serves.
Gary Turner — Commercial Manager
Result orientated, Gary has an enviable understanding of the leisure and tourism industry born out of 17 years’ experience working in the sector. He joined The Inn Collection Group in 2013 as general manager of the group’s 53-bedroom The Hog’s Head Inn.
Driven by delivering on customer expectations while upholding the vision, values and quality of The Inn Collection Group brand, Gary excels in building strong, cross-functional teams and helping develop their skills, encouragement, and support to be productive and reach their goals.
A talented amateur photographer, Gary enjoys spending time with his family, walking their dogs on the beach and can frequently be in search of ‘the one that got away’ out fishing.
Paul Brown — Operations Manager
Paul started his career in the leisure sector with Shearings Holidays before joining pub giant J D Wetherspoon plc in Scotland. He went on to head up F&B outlets across Tyne and Wear before joining The Inn Collection Group as general manager of The King’s Head Inn in 2014. His wealth of industry experience and proven track record is channeled into the management of all areas of the Group’s operations.
An inspirational leader who champions individuals and teamwork, Paul firmly believes in developing and nurturing people to support their own personal development and performance with training and mentoring.
Outside the office, family man Paul enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters and walking the family dog, Buster. He’s a keen sports enthusiast watching football and rugby and enjoying a well-earned pint in one of the Group’s inns.
Chris Moor — Operations Manager
More than 20 years’ experience covering every position on the trade ladder, from cellar management and front of house to general manager, has paved the way for Chris’s enviable breadth of knowledge in the sector.
Committed to giving customers outstanding venues to eat, drink, sleep, and explore from, Chris’s portfolio includes management titles at 42nd Street Bars, Greene King, Sir John Fitzgerald, and advancing through The Inn Collection Group tiers. A keen walker and outdoors enthusiast, putting his best foot forward led Chris to formulate the Group’s ever-popular Walk Inn package breaks.
A family man, Chris likes spending time with his wife and three children and adventuring outdoors to make memories.
Daniel Evans — Operations Manager
Hospitality stalwart Daniel Evans is committed to going above and beyond to deliver customer satisfaction and sharing this vision with his teams so they have an impact on the group’s continued success.
Honing proven management expertise garnered from the digital and telecoms sectors, Daniel pursued an ambition to enter the leisure trade, joining The Commissioners Quay Inn in Blyth as Assistant Manager. His efforts to deliver excellent customer service and lead a dynamic team in a fast-paced environment saw him take the helm of the seaside inn as General Manager.
Outside work, Daniel enjoys heading down to the beach with his family and has been known to pull on his running shoes. A keen football supporter, he enjoys cheering on local side Blyth Spartans.
Chris Sheldon — Financial Controller
Playing an integral role in the Group’s growth and development, Chris is responsible for the day-to-day operations and management of the Finance Department.
A certified accountant for over 15 years, he has worked in multiple national and international business sectors, from fast-moving consumer goods businesses to mass participation events, including Nova International (the company behind The Great North Run).
When he’s not crunching numbers, Chris enjoys cycling, open water swimming, and even entering the occasional triathlon. A self-confessed car enthusiast, Chris has swapped his sports wheels for a family estate to ferry his twins around.
Graeme Wood — Project and Development Manager
Passionate about creating new and dynamic venues for our customers to enjoy, Graeme has a wealth of architectural and interior design experience.
With almost 20-years’ experience under his belt, Graeme has worked with a wide range of businesses nationally including The Restaurant Group and BXB Interiors. He specialises in restaurant, bar, and hotel projects. Driven by creativity and innovation in design, Graeme plays a key role in all aspects relating to the group’s estate development. From the conceptual vision of new build projects and refurbishments across the group’s existing estate, to the re-purposing of acquisitions to meld with The Inn Collection Group’s award-winning eat, drink, sleep, and explore philosophy.
While admitting he’ll never be the next England manager, Graeme enjoys coaching grassroots football teams. Weekends see him and his wife cheering on their son during football matches and supporting their daughter as she puts her best foot forward.
Chris Walpole - Project Manager
Chris has recently joined the Inn Collection Group and brings a wealth of experience in project delivery. Having spent the past decade in the oil and gas engineering sector working on a range of projects, Chris will apply his design and project management experience to future developments.
Chris will play a vital role in all aspects of estate development, from property acquisition through to refurbishment and new build with a focus on supplier management, schedule development, and cost control.
In his spare time, Chris likes to think he is the next superstar music producer. His weekends typically consist of balancing Husband duties and sneaking in rounds of golf.
Hannah Walpole - Senior Group Stocktaker
Taking stock of The Inn Collection Group’s wet and dry bar products is Senior Group Stocktaker Hannah.
Hannah’s roots with the group go back to its formation 13 years ago when she first started completing stock checks for the company with CRA. Armed with in-depth product knowledge and a bulging black book of trade experience gleaned from 18 years working in hospitality including front of house and management roles at Newcastle United FC, Café 21 and Bar Luga, analyst queen Hannah has worked directly for The Inn Collection Group since 2019, managing and analysing stock control systems.
Keeping up with current trends, Hannah loves nothing better than researching drinks on city and ski breaks with her husband and long walks with their dog, Boston Terrier Frank.
Zoe Cooper - Senior Marketing Executive
Zoe recently joined the Inn Collection Group and brings with her a wealth of experience and knowledge of marketing within the hospitality industry, previously working for a digital marketing agency, focussing in this department. With a Master's in Public Relations and a passion for driving sales through innovative, original marketing ideas, Zoe will play a key role in The Inn Collection Group's aims of systematic growth.
Away from the office, Zoe is a keen netballer, enjoys taking her Cocker Spaniel Dexter on long walks and making her way slightly south to watch her favourite football team, Leeds United.