Retirement for solicitor who has served community for 35 years

Updated: Mar 19, 2020

A HIGHLY-RESPECTED consultant and former director at a leading firm of solicitors is

retiring after 35 years serving her community.

Diana Armstrong, who joined Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors at its Haltwhistle office in

1985, retires at the end of the month.

Clients and colleagues are due to mark Diana’s milestone with an afternoon tea party

and an early evening social in Haltwhistle on Monday.

Diana, who lives near Chollerford with her husband Kester, has enjoyed working in an

area where community spirit is so strong.

Diana, who joined Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors after gaining a first class honours

degree at Oxford University and finishing her training at Dickinson Dees in Newcastle,

said: “I can remember I was really pleased to come to a firm and a community where

you met your clients face to face, then got to know their families, and I have always

continued to enjoy that.

“When you work in a close-knit, friendly town like Haltwhistle you are always seeing

your clients. You could be going down the Main Street at lunchtime for a sandwich and

someone will ask you about their will or power of attorney. It makes you feel very much

part of local people’s lives, which I appreciate.

“Haltwhistle is a bit different from some of the other communities in Northumberland

because of its mining heritage. The mines closed over the decades after the 1920s, but

the town still has two working men’s clubs and a very strong sense of community.

“The job is made by clients and their personalities. I have acted for three generations of

families on estates, conveyancing and wills, and done the same for their children and


“I love nothing more than handing over the keys to a young couple excited about buying

their first house.

“But by the same token I might get a call from the hospital to see someone with only a

little time left in life. And although that’s sad, I hope it gives comfort to know that

everything has been put in place for their loved ones.”

Diana, who has three children, Roly, 31, and twins Genny and Naomi, 27, has seen big

changes in Haltwhistle in the last 35 years, not least the A69 bypass which meant the

traffic between Carlisle and Newcastle no longer needed to drive through town.

Technology has also benefited the job, with wills and long leases no longer needing to

be “laboriously typed up”, with Tipp-Ex at the ready for any amendments. “In my early

days the post was the most important moment of the day. Secretaries could take

shorthand dictation and deeds were still sewn up by hand, never stapled!” said Diana.

Diana has also seen Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors’ presence and expertise in

Haltwhistle grow considerably over the years.

“When I started it was me and two secretaries. I dealt with everything which came

through the door. It is very satisfying to see it grow to where it is today with seven

members of staff and three secretaries.”

As part of Cartmell Shepherd’s continuing commitment to the area the firm has also

recently invested in a major refurbishment of the Haltwhistle offices.

Diana said: “I think the branch offices are a real strength of Cartmell Shepherd. With

offices in Haltwhistle, Brampton, two in Carlisle, Penrith and Dovenby we are able to be

at the heart of those communities and cover a wide geographical area. The network of

branches means we are still able to offer that trusted face to face service and expertise

which clients really value.”

Diana has been helping local families with the important decisions in their lives for

decades. Now she’s faced with how she should spend her own retirement.

“When it comes to later in the year I plan to do some voluntary work for charities who

write wills for people on benefits and others who need help in that way.

“But first I am going to have the summer off. I am going to enjoy walking sections of the

Pennine Way with a group of my friends and former colleagues. I am also going to get

some hens and take advantage of having time to enjoy freshly laid eggs in the morning!”

Peter Stafford, managing director of Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors, said: “Diana has

been an inspiring mentor and hugely respected solicitor throughout her career. Her

clients love her, and her colleagues love working with her.

“It is testament to Diana that she has built-up and developed such a strong team in

Haltwhistle with an exceptional level of expertise to serve clients throughout the area.

"We all wish Diana every health and happiness in her well-deserved retirement.”


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