Find out more about the trustees of SS Great Britain Trust:
Jim McKenna was appointed to the Board in June 2017.
"I am privileged to be joining a forward thinking organisation, which brings to life Brunel's entrepreneurial and technical skills. The exhibitions and educational programmes are wonderful, and hopefully will help to inspire the next generation of Brunels."
Kerry is the Finance Director of Aardman (Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run), a role he has held since 2003, after joining the company in 1996. A qualified accountant, prior to Aardman, he held a variety of financial roles in the retail, engineering, construction, software and insurance industries. He has sat on a number of creative industry charity boards as a Non-Executive Director or Trustee over the last ten years, and is also a Director of the UK Screen Alliance.
Kerry is married with three children and enjoys the cinema, travel, languages and cricket, and is a playing member of the MCC.
“As a born and bred Bristolian, I was honoured to become involved with such a significant landmark destination. Having taken the SS Great Britain and Brunel a little for granted while living here, I am beginning to understand the huge amount of work and activity that the staff and volunteers put in to make the experience what it is - which is spectacular and constantly improving."
James Whistler Berresford
James was educated at Huddersfield University where he gained an Honours degree in Humanities, majoring in drama, and at the City of London University. His early career started in arts administration and theatre management before moving to countryside recreation.
He went on to become Nottinghamshire County Council’s first ever Tourism Officer and subsequently became Assistant Director of Leisure, responsible for the management of various tourist attractions including Sherwood Forest and Rufford Abbey.
He was appointed to the Heart of England Tourist Board as Regional Director in the East Midlands before joining the Northwest Development Agency as Regional Business Manager for Tourism. He was subsequently appointed a Director of the Agency with oversight for Tourism and was instrumental in Liverpool’s successful Capital of Culture programme.
In 2009 James became the Chief Executive of Visit England, the official tourism body for England. During his tenure he was responsible for formulating the first ever national tourism strategy for England and initiated a wide range of high profile public/private sector initiatives. Since moving on from VisitEngland, James has taken up a number of non-executive roles within the sector as well as advising on a variety of tourism related projects. He is Chairman of the Isles of Scilly Tourism Partnership, a Director of the Derbyshire leisure firm, Pinelog Ltd and is the Chairman of the Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa Heritage Trust Ltd.
James is married with one son. He lives in the Peak District where he likes to make the most of his love of the countryside. He is a member of the advisory board for the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA). James has an Honorary Doctorate in Business from Chester University and was recently made an Honorary Doctor of the University of Derby.
Dr Helen Doe, MA, PhD, FRHistS
Helen was elected to the Board in June 2009 and stepped down in 2013 to focus on research. Helen was co-opted again in 2014 and elected to the Board the same year. After an international career in the IT industry, Helen gained her Masters degree and her PhD in Maritime History from the University of Exeter where she is a Fellow. Her research interests are in the field of maritime business history and include shipbuilding, port communities, maritime businesswomen and investors in nineteenth century shipping.
She has written several books and published a wide range of articles in academic journals. She is a Trustee of the British Commission for Maritime History, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Commissioner for the Fowey Harbour Authority. She also sits on the Council of the National Historic Ships.
“The ship itself never ceases to delight me and the creativity of the exhibitions are a wonder. As a historian my special place is the amazing library and archive in the Brunel Instititute. I take great pleasure in watching the positive reaction of visitors to the Archive in Five tours“.
Sam Mullins OBE, BA (Oxon), AMA, FMA, FSA, FRSA
Sam was appointed to the Board in June 2015.
Surrounded by the past as a boy, Sam was always going to be a historian. His mother’s family, originally from Bristol, ran Hodges & Son, Exeter engineers, while his father was a Salisbury antique dealer of great judgment and business acumen. Working in museums since the late 1970s in Shropshire, Leicestershire, St.Albans and now London, Sam’s career has been founded on an instinct to share his own fascination with the narratives and material from the past with Brunel’s SS Great Britain’s visitors and users.
Of the SS Great Britain he says:
“As a historian who has worked in museums since the late 1970s, the opportunity to contribute to the extraordinary story of Brunel and especially his iconic SS Great Britain, is a singular honour. I well remember my uncle’s photographs of the ship when it returned to Bristol in 1970. I’m intrigued by the opportunity to literally get inside Brunel’s head provided by the next phase of the ship’s development. I will bring my own experience of engaging people in transport and social history, and sustaining a highly successful charging museum in central London, to the work of the trustees”.
Peaches Golding OBE
Charley Maher is the Managing Director of two successful, expanding businesses based in Bristol, water2business and Pelican Business Services, and the non-executive director of energy auto-switching service Flipper. Prior to this Charley was the Regional Director for NatWest in South West England, latterly the 'Head of Simplifying Customer Life' for retail banking at the RBS Group.
Charley has fifteen years' experience in engaging and leading large teams to deliver awarding winning customer service and with a strong track record of driving change and innovation and is passionate about delivering great service through engaging her people.
Charley founded The NICU Foundation charity in 2014 which launched a partnership with the NHS South West Neonatal Network in May 2019, supporting the delivery of Neonatal Care within the 12 Units across the South West of England through funding of equipment, facilities and training and education.
Charley was appointed to the board in July 2019, of the SS Great Britain Trust she says:
>"I was first introduced to the SS Great Britain following a visit by my son’s school. He came home so excited, explaining everything he had learned about ‘the amazing ship’ and how he had loved dressing up as someone ‘as great as Isambard Kingdom Brunel’. A chance meeting introduced me to the CEO where I learnt more about the history as well as the fantastic work the team do encouraging STEM education and supporting future budding Brunels! I was inspired by the historic story and also by the work taking place today and very excited when an opportunity arose to join the team, to provide support in growing the future fan base."
Kelvin Blake is an experienced non-executive director and board level leader. Up until very recently (June 2018), he led some of the largest and most complex programmes for BT and their customers, as well as sitting as a board member on BT’s South West regional board. He has experience in the NHS, having spent six years on the board of United Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. Kelvin is also currently a non-executive director of North Bristol NHS Trust, BrisDoc and of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative (BCCI). He is also a charity trustee of WECIL and Second Step.
Kelvin joined the board of the SS Great Britain Trust in November 2019, and had this to say:
“I have always been fascinated and inspired by new technologies and how they can bring about such massive social and economic changes to individuals lives. This is equally true in today's world - with the development of processing power, social media and electric-powered devices - as it is to yesterday's, as with the invention of new bridges and ships. The question of how we can harness lessons from the engineering of the past to inspire future generations is why I am excited to join the board of the SS Great Britain Trust."