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

Jim Sullivan is vice chairman and secretary of Sunderland Maritime Heritage (SMH). He 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 and served 4 years deep sea on various cargo vessels. After leaving, he worked at the Wear dockyard as a marine fitter.


He then left to pursue a career in the oil and gas industry, progressing to Offshore Installation Manager before moving on shore to manage a gas terminal on Teesside. The last three years before taking early retirement in December 2015, were spent in Shetland, managing the Sullom Voe oil and gas terminal. 

Ian Murray

Ian Murray is the treasurer and assistant secretary at Sunderland Maritime Heritage (SMH). He started volunteering for SMH in 2015. One of his first jobs as a volunteer administration assistant was to sort out the heritage centre's collection of maritime-themed books.


He became treasurer in 2016. 

Ian spent 38 years working for a global marine paint manufacturer in an administration and accounts function, before taking retirement. 

Peter Johnson

Capt. Peter Johnson is a trustee at Sunderland Maritime Heritage (SMH). He has been a volunteer with SMH since 2016.

Peter joined the Merchant Navy at the age of 16, in 1971 and sailed worldwide on a variety of ships. He progressed through the ranks as third mate, second mate, chief officer, before becoming a master 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.

He is also one of the nominated skippers for the Willdora.

John Sumner

John Sumner is a trustee and the Creative Director at Sunderland Maritime Heritage (SMH). He 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.


Now, John produces short promotional films for Sunderland Maritime Heritage. 

Bob Crompton

Bob Crompton is a member of the Sunderland Maritime Heritage (SMH) board and is responsible for fundraising. 

He joined SMH when he moved to Sunderland in 2016. 

Bob has been interested in boats since he was a lad. He learnt to sail when he was 8-years-old in his father's dinghy. He later sailed and maintained his 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 a 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 Tall Ships.

He has also undertaken all of the wiring work on Willdora.

Fred Gooch

Fred Gooch is the project manager for Sunderland Maritime Heritage's (SMH) HMS Venerable model.

He joined SMH in April 2015.

Fred's first job was working in a printers. He then worked in wine and spirits, before moving on to the spares department at Coles Cranes.

He then headed to Sunderland Shipbuilders, as a technical clerk, and he eventually became a Buyer.

While Fred was working in the shipyard he started to build models of ships that were being built in the yard. 

When the yards closed in 1988, he got a job working in Barrow-in-Furness as a model maker.

Fred has his own dedicated space in the SMH visitor centre - the Fred Gooch Gallery. 

Peter Bryce

Peter Bryce is a trustee at Sunderland Maritime Heritage. 


He has long been involved with the sea off and on, starting in his teens at Sunderland Yacht Club as a crew member, involved in racing and tours. He also served as a crew member of the Sunderland RNLI.


His father was a bosun in the Merchant Navy and his great grandfather worked in the shipyards.


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