John M Dobbin

I was born in Darlington and educated here, leaving the then Queen Elizabeth Grammar School to attend Plymouth School of Navigation and afterwards I pursued a career as a deck officer with Cunard in the Merchant Navy. Following an accident in Australia I returned home, got married to Elizabeth in St Cuthbert’s Church and eventually was invalided out of service. 

My second career was in retailing and i joined a local supermarket chain as a management trainee, and subsequently a manager, regional manager, a personnel and training director. By this time we had two children and i decided to take up a three year UK government sponsored appointment in Zambia as a retail management consultant. 

Following that we moved to South Africa where, for the last six years of my career, I was CEO of a large retail group before taking early retirement. Elizabeth and i then spent time travelling and lived in Majorca for 25 years before returning to Darlington 12 years ago. 

I was a member of Lloyd’s of London for 20 years and am a Fellow of the Institute of Directors.