Meet Our Team

Cat Care Assistant - Tracey Young

Hi my name is Tracey, I am one of the Cat Care Assistants at the Tyneside Adoption Centre. I previously worked at a Veterinary Practice and also in a wild animal rescue centre in Costa Rica. I currently have 2 rescue cats at home.


Cat Care Assistant - Natalie Marwood

Hello, I'm Natalie. My animal career started with the RSPCA when I volunteered for 6 months at the Great Ayton Animal Centre and then gained a full time position as an Animal Carer which I continued to do for 11 years.

I then worked as a Veterinary Care Assistant and later spent 14 years as a Park Ranger at Stewart Park in Middlesborough where I cared for highland cattle, deer, llama. goats, sheep and various small animals.

I then became a dog care assistant for a dog creche in Stockton before taking my current position here with Cats Protection as a Cat Care Assistant


Cat Care Assistant - Liz Newbery

Cat Care Assistant - Kev Racey

Cat Care Assistant - David Marshall

Cat Care Assistant - Kate Dixon

Cat Care Assistant - Holly Houliston

Senior Cat Care Assistant - Kezzie Paxton

Hi, my name is Kezzie and I have always been passionate about animals and cats in purrticular! After doing a BTEC in Animal Management at college, I then went on to study Zoology with Animal Behaviour at Bangor University. After completing the course, I volunteered for a while at my local Blue Cross Rehoming centre with all the cats and dogs there and also at my local Cats Protection branch before getting my first job as a cat care assistant at Ferndown Cats Protection in Dorset.

While at Ferndown I fundraised for the homing centre by running the Bath half marathon in a cat mascot costume and by cycling
from London to Paris. I worked there for just short of 2 years before moving back up north to be closer to my family where I started working as a Cat Care Assistant for York Cats Protection. I worked there for just under 2 years before moving to Tyneside Cats Protection. I was then lucky enough to get my dream job as Senior Cat Care Assistant which I am thoroughly enjoying at the moment.

I have a lovely cat called Amber from Cats Protection who is a 13 year old tortoiseshell and white cat. I am currently completing a feline behaviour course through International Cat Care which is keeping me busy alongside running in my spare time.

Receptionist - Shannon Watkin

Hi, I'm Shannon. I've worked in the animal welfare sector for 5 years now, having worked previously in a veterinary practice. My role here at the centre is looking after reception and making sure all of our cats' records are in order; I always make time for a cuddle with our lovely residents though!

Volunteer Team Leader - Helen Lee

I began working in Animal Welfare after bagging my dream job in a dog and cats home in Newcastle, after a complete career change 5 years ago. Although, for a dog and cats home we had all sorts! The first dog I encountered was the sweetest little red terrier who had sadly been abandoned. It was then that I knew, I never wanted to do anything else. I joined the Cats Protection team in 2017.

I love what I do because I love and respect all animals, especially those who are misunderstood and just need the love and patience they deserve. It gives me great pride to be their voice when they need it most. The best thing about this role, is that I get to speak to and recruit like minded people, who all want to give something back to the animals that they love. 

I particularly adore small furries having kept rabbits (and a guinea pig) all my life. I am also the very proud owner of the most beautiful, charismatic, ginger tom cat in the whole world (or maybe he owns me?).

Volunteer Team Leader (On Maternity) - Jessica Gibson     

Hi there! My name is Jess and my role at Tyneside Adoption Centre is Volunteer Team Leader. I really enjoy meeting and chatting to people from all walks of life, so I'm eager to recruit a dedicated and enthusiastic team of volunteers with different backgrounds who will work closely with staff, to ensure the centre runs smoothly and efficiently, to achieve the common goal of helping as many cats as we can each year!

I have always been an animal lover. I've grown up surrounded by animals of
all shapes and sizes so I always knew I would end up working with them! My past experience includes volunteering in a stray cat and dog shelter, working in a dog rehoming centre and in a veterinary referral hospital. I enjoy all of the different personalities of rescue animals and it is very rewarding when an animal you have cared for goes to a loving new home.

As well as doing a job I love, I go home to an ever expanding chaotic household of five dogs, five ferrets and two rabbits!

Deputy Manager - Lysa Dobson

Centre Manager - Emzi Frater

Hello, Emzi here - My background is in education and the sciences, having first studied Zoology at undergraduate level, Ecology and Biology at post-graduate level followed by my PGCE specialising in STEM subjects. Before moving here I worked in outreach education in science and as a lecturer and manager of programmes in Animal Care and Animal Management. I was also involved in the set-up and running of a busy animal centre and Blue Cross homing cattery in North Devon.

I've long had an interest in cats and their welfare, having always had rescue cats living with me at home either from veterinary practices or adopting from Cats Protection Adoption Centres. My first involvement with Cats Protection was volunteering as the co-ordinator for a branch in Northern Ireland ten years back in 2010 and I'm also proud to have fundraised by doing the Great North Run in 2014 for a branch in South West England. In my spare time I keep myself busy with CPD, ornithology, exercise and a good read.

We also have a fantastic team of over 50 volunteers, who are invaluable to the work we do. Our volunteers have roles in every aspect of running our Centre, from administration to practical cat care to fundraising. We would be lost without these wonderful people who have so kindly dedicated their free time to help the cats of the North East.