A LEADING figure in event management and marketing has taken on a second key role in the Tyne Valley.

Jez Light has worked at Hexham Abbey for the past 18 months, as events and lettings manager.

He will now combine the part-time position with that of operations manager at Hexham Community Partnership, as the two organisations work to help the town recover from the impact of coronavirus.

“These are strange times, and working for two organisations that are at the heart of Hexham’s post-Covid recovery is a unique and exciting opportunity,” he said.

“I have grown to know and love Hexham since starting to work for the Abbey. It is a town steeped in history – boasting fantastic facilities, talented people, a vibrant cultural life and an exciting future potential to reinvent the high street offer.

“The current situation presents challenges and opportunities that will shape Hexham for decades to come, and I am keen to be at the heart of these changes and help in whatever way I can to enhance the quality of life for residents within Hexham and also attract visitors to the town.”

Jez started his career as events and venue manager at Durham University Students’ Union and was a director of a family-owned visitor attraction in Morpeth. He has also worked in the community and voluntary sector as well as fund-raising for a number of arts events.

Before joining the abbey, Jez worked on producing events across the UK such as the Tall Ships Regatta in Blyth, Brinkburn Music Festival, and the Festival of Frolics street theatre festival in Glasgow.

Hexham Community Partnership chairman Peter Rodger said Jez would help the partnership to resume many of its own activities.

He explained: “Organising large-scale events such as Spook Night and the Christmas Market has traditionally been a key part of our role.

“Obviously during the last few months these have been impossible to stage – apart from the Hexham Hidden Gardens, which proved surprisingly popular in a new online format.

“We have been champing at the bit to get our family events programme back up and running – in a safe and Covid-secure way.

“We have been really impressed with what Jez has been doing with events at the abbey, and his part-time role just across the road from our offices dovetails perfectly with what he’ll now be doing for us.”

The partnership supported vulnerable residents with the Hexham Community Together scheme during lockdown. It is also working to assist tourism-related businesses via its Visit Hexham website and social media platforms.