Dynamic Duo's Decade in Darlington

A couple who relocated to Darlington for work are celebrating ten years in the area.

06 June 2018

Mhairi and David Ledgerwood were the first members of staff to relocate from Glasgow to Lingfield Point in Darlington as part of the expansion of the Student Loans Company which had just moved into the award-winning Memphis building in 2008. 

They will be joining the Company as they celebrate the ten year milestone on 12 June, the official date that Memphis opened a decade ago.  

The couple have embraced their new lives and become active members of the community, with Mhairi progressing her passion as a playwright and David a member of Darlington’s Quakers running club.  

Mhairi explained: “David started working in the call centre at the Student Loans Company in Glasgow in 2002 and took on a secondment as a trainer in 2007. He was set to return to his role as a coach when a permanent trainer post came up, located at the Darlington office. 

“With David successful in his interview, I also wanted to take the opportunity to develop and applied to be a Personal Assistant to the Head of Processing. Thankfully, I was successful and we moved down in May 2008.” 

The couple’s careers went from strength to strength at SLC but the move also opened up new avenues for them to explore outside of work.  

Mhairi started a Master’s degree in Creative Writing and graduated in 2011, while working at the Company. 

She was recently selected as one of just nine playwrights to be part of a Writers’ Group, working with the prestigious Royal Court Theatre. Actors who have worked with the Royal Court include Alan Rickman, Tasmin Greg, Matt Smith and Laurence Olivier.  

Mhairi beat off competition from 160 applicants and is excited to be part of it, as It is the first time that the Royal Court has run a group like this in the North of England.  

She explained: “It’s a project that’s been run between the Royal Court, New Writing North and Northern Stage. During the last few months, I’ve taken part in workshops with visiting playwrights and working with a director based at Northern Stage and an ensemble of actors selected by the Royal Court. The play that I’m working on was on at the Royal Court in London at the end of May and will be showing at Northern Stage in Newcastle in September.” 

She has also currently under commission to write a play for Alphabetti Theatre, a fringe theatre based in Newcastle.  

Meanwhile, husband David has immersed himself in marathon running and training with the Darlington Quakers running club.  

David explained: “I took part in the Great North Run and have been involved in raising money for charities such as The Stroke Association.  

“My main running target for this year is to head north to Scotland again to complete the Loch Ness marathon in September. It will be my fourth marathon and I hope to break the five-hour barrier for my time.”  

Despite missing family, David and Mhairi are delighted with the progress they have made while living in Darlington.  

Mhairi said: “I’m pleased with everything that we have achieved. That’s probably something to do with moving to a new place, not knowing anyone and having to make the effort to get involved both at work and outside.  

“We’ve definitely explored more places than we would have done before too.  

“We get to London a few times a year as you can do it in a day, Durham is only 15 minutes on the train and Manchester and York are other favourites.  

“A favourite memory of mine has been going to Haworth and seeing where the Bronte family lived, as Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books. I doubt we would have made the journey had we not been closer to Yorkshire. Moving to Darlington definitely opened up lots of new chapters for us.”