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New chief executive appointed for Portsmouth’s Mary Rose


Portsmouth's Mary Rose

The Board of the Mary Rose Trust today confirmed that Helen Bonser-Wilton, Chief Executive, will be leaving the Mary Rose Trust at the end of March 2021.

Helen is taking up an exciting new role as Chief Executive of the Leeds Castle Foundation in Kent. The Board is enormously grateful to Helen for all that she has achieved during her five and a half years at the Mary Rose – which was raised in 1982 after years of hard graft by a plethora of commercial and recreational divers – and wishes her every success for the future.

The Board ran a thorough internal recruitment process over the Christmas/New Year period and is delighted to confirm that Dominic Jones, current Chief Operating Officer, has been appointed as the new Chief Executive, with effect from end March 2021.

Dominic was recruited to the Mary Rose two years ago and brings an excellent background in commercial visitor attractions (Disney, Merlin) and creative visitor experience development. During his time at the Mary Rose, he has driven an excellent commercial and operational performance and worked closely with Helen to create the new Portsmouth Historic Dockyard joint venture with the National Museum of the Royal Navy, which launched successfully in August 2020.

Mary Rose Chairman Alan Lovell said: “Helen has been an outstanding Chief Executive and The Board is truly grateful for everything that she has achieved. We are delighted, in particular, to be working in a positive new joint venture with the NMRN and to have survived the appalling impact of the COVID-19 epidemic. Helen has managed the finances of the Trust with great skill and increased our standing in the City of Portsmouth and the Nation, and she leaves us with a well-founded spring in our step and confidence in the future.

“We are delighted to have been able to appoint such an excellent successor to Helen internally and are confident that Dominic will lead the Mary Rose forward very positively.  This news will bring much-needed continuity as the Mary Rose forges a path through the continuing COVID-19 challenges and we look forward to a positive and exciting future.”

Dominic Jones said: “Having worked closely with Helen over the last two years I am honoured to be taking over responsibility for this awe-inspiring world-class attraction and leading her dedicated and professional team of staff and volunteers.”

In light of the current national lockdown restrictions, the museum is closed to visitors. The Mary Rose continues to take every step necessary to ensure the museum is safe for visitors and staff, and looks forward to welcoming visitors again when it can re-open. The ongoing support of the public is crucial during this continuing pandemic so for anyone wishing to support their Covid-19 recovery, please visit: Mary Rose Website

In the meantime, you can visit the Virtual Museum at Mary Rose


The Mary Rose, King Henry VIII’s favourite ship, sank in battle in 1545 and was raised from the Solent in 1982 along with 19,000 Tudor artefacts. The Mary Rose Trust is an independent charity and receives no government or public funding.  Its purpose is to care for and share to as wide an audience as possible the stories of the Mary Rose and her crew, told through thousands of personal and professional artefacts.

The ship and collection are housed in the purpose-built, award-winning museum in Portsmouth and gives an unparalleled insight into everyday life in Tudor times at all levels of society. Over 10 million visitors have been welcomed since the ship was raised in 1982. Refreshed in 2016, the Museum gives visitors the opportunity to breathe the same air as the ship herself and to see the crew brought to life.

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Mark Evans
Scuba Diver's Editorial Director Mark Evans has been in the diving industry for nearly 25 years, and has been diving since he was just 12 years old. nearly 40-odd years later and he is still addicted to the underwater world.
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