New Faces At Cockermouth Charity

Two new Trustees and a Company Secretary have been appointed at a popular Cockermouth charity.

David Thomas, a retired NHS Finance Director who recently moved to Cockermouth, has joined the Board as Honorary Treasurer. Helen Hardy, Science Digital Programme Manager at the Natural History Museum in London, will help develop Kirkgate’s local history collection. Cockermouth resident Rob Higgins, a solicitor with extensive Board experience who currently works mainly in the nuclear industry, is the new Company Secretary.

‘David, Helen and Rob bring enormous expertise to our Board,’ said Chair of Trustees, Marion Bowman. ‘The past two years of coronavirus have been very difficult for the entertainment, hospitality, arts and culture sector, which we straddle, and we are not out of the woods yet. We are very community-based and attract a wide range of local people and visitors. We have a lot of different activities to manage and a big building to run. Although we are already blessed with a brilliant staff and enthusiastic volunteers, these three new appointments will strengthen the organisation a lot and help us with our strategy for the future.

Mr Thomas is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and spent much of his career as the Finance Director of various NHS Trusts. He has been a Trustee of many charities including Bowness and Windermere Community Care Trust and Friends of Theatre by the Lake.

He said: ‘My wife Sue and I have a real passion for the performing arts – theatre, and all types of music. We enjoy supporting the arts in Cumbria – in particular Theatre by the Lake and now Kirkgate Arts and Heritage.’

Ms Hardy has family connections in Cumbria and is managing the digitisation of the Natural History Museum’s world-class collection. She said: ‘I’ve developed a strong understanding of heritage collections in the UK and beyond, including collections management and preservation. I know the challenges that smaller collections face and I’ve occasionally given training to organisations like Kirkgate. I am particularly excited by Kirkgate’s plans for the local heritage collection.
Mr Higgins said: ‘I have always really enjoyed the events at the Kirkgate, so being Company Secretary is a great opportunity to make a contribution to the Kirkgate’s success.’

‘After the closures and financial pressures caused by the pandemic, we are starting 2022 with a determination to not just survive, but keep developing,’ said Ms Bowman. ‘We hope the community will enjoy the many new offerings we’re lining up at the Kirkgate Centre and Arts Out West venues. It’s great to have attracted such experienced and committed people to our Board as David, Helen and Rob to help with our ambitions.’