Find out more about the trustees of SS Great Britain Trust:
Jim McKenna was appointed to the Board in June 2017.
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“.
Dinah was co-opted as a trustee in November 2012 and in 2014 became Vice Chairman.
Dinah is a Consultant Solicitor to a large City of London law firm where she advises across a huge spectrum of commercial, financial and governance matters. She also has experience in property management and development ranging from small schemes to large residential developments. A graduate of the University of Bristol, she now lives in Bristol and takes a keen interest in local affairs, having served as a member of the Council of the University of Bristol and of Clifton College.
Coming from a naval family Dinah is passionate about preserving our marine heritage and, as a Bristolian, she is proud of its links with Brunel:
"Brunel is an inspiration to me; not just for the innovation, perseverance and passion with which he followed through his ideas, his range of interests and his deep intellectual and practical ability but especially for his sheer courage shown in so many aspects of his life and for his deep humanity to those working alongside him. I am particularly excited at the Brunel Institute and the wonderful opportunities it provides for research and scholarship."
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”.
Elected as a Trustee in June 2013, Jan started his career in shipbuilding in van der Giessen de Noord, a shipyard near Rotterdam, and he was involved in building several Nedloyd ships during 1980–85. Since then, Jan has been employed by Dutch steel construction company, Hollandia, and has worked on several projects concerning the transport and installation of steel bridges in Holland, Sweden, Germany, Israel, Ireland and England.
Jan started a sister company, Hollandia UK Ltd, in 2001. He is currently also involved in long term contractual maintenance and operational assistance at Wembley Stadium and the London Eye.
Jan has been based permanently in the UK since the construction of the London Eye in 1998.
He goes on to explain where his passion for ships came from:
“I have always been interested in ships; my father was an engineer on the Dutch American Lines in the early days and I grew up with photograph albums full of ships on the bookshelves.
“I studied shipbuilding for two years and have launched ships off the yard during my employment at van der Giessan de Noord. Therefore I am very pleased to have the chance to be involved with the SS Great Britain.”