Our Trustees


Click on a picture to see their details.

  Chris Carolan  
  Chairman Chris Carolan is one of the founding members of Sunderland Maritime Heritage (SMH). He was vice-chairman for around 14 years, before becoming chairman.

Chris has been interested in boats and marine activities for the last 50 years. He has owned a number of boats and has a lot of experience in repairing and renovating small boats.

Chris is currently the project manager in the restoration of the Willdora.

  Jim Sullivan  
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   Vice Chairman, Fundraising Manager & Marine Engineering Manager – Jim joined SMH in October 2015, initially to work on Willdora’s engine.
He was subsequently invited to join the Board of Trustees and in February 2018 became Vice-Chairman.
​Jim trained as a Marine Engineer in the Merchant Navy, serving 4 years deep sea on various cargo vessels. He then worked at the Wear dockyard as a Marine Fitter.
Jim then pursued a career in the oil and gas industry, progressing to Offshore Installation Manager, before moving on shore to manage a gas terminal on Teesside. Jim took early retirement in December 2015 and spent his last three years working in Shetland, managing the Sullom Voe oil and gas terminal.


  Ian Murray  
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  Treasurer – Ian started volunteering for SMH in 2015. One of his first jobs as an Administration Assistant was to sort out the heritage centre’s collection of maritime-themed books.
He became treasurer in 2016. 


  Linda Merritt  
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  Secretary – Linda joined SMH in December 2019 following her early retirement from a medical training company in Hertfordshire and relocation to the north-east.
Having worked extensively in office management and financial roles all her working life, her forte is procedural and operational management.
Her father was in the Merchant Navy and sailed on the inaugural voyages of several ships built on the Wear.
  Bob Crompton  
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  Trustee & Electrical Engineering Manager  
Bob joined SMH when he moved to Sunderland in 2016.
Bob has been interested in boats since he was a lad. He learnt to sail in his father’s dinghy when he was just 8-years-old and went on to sail and maintain father’s various sailing cruisers.
He acquired mechanical skills and trained as an Electronics and Electrical Engineer, which equipped him for a 32-year career in aerospace. ​
Bob retired in 2002 and is currently part-time lecturer and module tutor for the University of Warwick.
He has also owned a canal narrowboat for 25 years and sailed as Assistant Engineer on the tall ships Stavros S Niarchos and Prince William.  He has also undertaken all of the wiring work on Willdora.




  John Sumner  
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  Trustee & Creative Director – John first came into contact with SMH in 2005, when he was commissioned to write, produce and perform in a short play about Jack Crawford, the Sunderland sailor.
​John later became a volunteer with SMH and worked extensively on the restoration of the Willdora.
He has lived and worked in Sunderland all his life. He started his engineering apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce Aerospace in 1974 and remained with the company for 28 years in various posts.  He was also an active crew member for Sunderland RNLI for 3 years.
Over the last 17 years John has worked extensively in film, TV and radio – recently working with Ken Loach and appearing in “I Daniel Blake” as the CV Manager.
Now, John produces short promotional films for SMH.  
  Capt. Peter Johnson  
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  Trustee & Health & Safety Manager
 Peter has been a volunteer with SMH since 2016.
Peter joined the Merchant Navy in 1971 at the age of 16 and sailed worldwide on a variety of ships. He progressed through the ranks as Third Mate, Second Mate and Chief Officer, before becoming a Master Mariner in 1985.
He served as a Master Mariner for 16 years. He then came ashore and worked for two different shipping companies over 12 years, as Marine Superintendent.
Peter is now a skipper on small passenger vessels on the River Tyne and Water Patrol Officer on the River Wear.
  Capt. Peter Wynn  
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  Trustee & Marine Advisor– After leaving school (Bede) Peter did a year at SSMTC (South Shields) learning Navigation etc. He then served an apprenticeship with Common Bros of Newcastle as Navigation apprentice.
He then pursued his career and passed the Masters examination in 1970.
He served with several shipping Companies and was promoted to Master in 1974 while with World Wide Shipping of Hong Kong.
He then served as Master until retirement in 2003.

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