Sir Les Elton (1947 - 2014)

Posted: 14th July 2014

We are deeply saddened to have learned of the death of Sir Les Elton.

Sir Les Elton was appointed Chair of Northern Film & Media Limited in October 2007, following Mo O’Toole and founding Chair Michael Chapman.

During his tenure Sir Les saw turnover more than double in 3 years and as a result NFM has been able to develop the careers, companies and projects of hundreds of north-east-based creatives. 

Under Sir Les’s steady guidance NFM was able to survive the dismantling of its main funders, ONE North East and the UK Film Council. We and our clients benefited greatly from the instrumental role he played in securing funding from alternative sources and streamlining the company to remain fit for purpose in more austere times.

Sir Les was always on hand to provide wise counsel and strategic guidance and his commitment to NFM over almost 7 years has been invaluable. 

A solicitor by training, Sir Les enjoyed a distinguished career in local government, serving as Chief Executive of Gateshead Council for 20 years. During his time in post he led on many notable culturally-driven regeneration projects, including the development of the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Sage Gateshead, as well as commissioning the Angel of the North. Latterly he also served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of Northumbria University and Chair of Port of Tyne.

His impact on Gateshead and the wider North East has been widely documented and was recognised with the award of a knighthood in 2004.

He will be greatly missed.


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