Ian Smith

Chief Executive

Ian was appointed in 1998 by Hampshire County Council as the new Fundraising Manager for the then Hampshire Museums Trust. He lives with his partner Janet and between them have five children and seven grandchildren.

With a history of fundraising – especially in the area of Corporate Sponsorship during his time with the Lawn Tennis Association Trust – Ian was offered a two year contract to raise additional revenue for the new Regional Museum, Milestones that was being built in Basingstoke. Over the two years the museum attracted thirty one Corporate Sponsors, twenty donating charities and over £20,000 in individual donations. In the year 2000 the Hampshire Museums Trust extended its role to other parts of the County eventually becoming The Hampshire Museums and Galleries Trust. In January 2015 HMGT evolved to become The Wessex Heritage Trust covering areas within Sussex, Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, South Berkshire and parts of Devon. To date over £12 million has been raised to support access to heritage and cultural sites throughout the region.

The Wessex Heritage Trust concentrates its resources on creating opportunities for those people who are considered ”traditional non-users of Cultural or Heritage sites/facilities” through active engagement whatever their age or ability. This is achieved via its three core projects

  1. “The EDGE Project” – working with young people who have offended, are at risk of offending, are in care or who are carers.

  2. The award winning “Memory Box Project” – helping and supporting those living with dementia via their multi-themed, sensory, reminiscence boxes.

  3. “Memories Brought Home Project” - reaching out to those who are experiencing social isolation by creating opportunities and openings for volunteering, plus full or part time work.

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Ian Smith

Marie McDade

Development Manager

Marie McDade joined Hampshire Museums and Galleries Trust in 2008 following 12 years at Arts & Business South East as Arts Services Manager. This role encompassed delivering Business Sponsorship and Board Development training courses for arts organisations in the South East, providing one-to-one sponsorship advice surgeries to arts professionals and managing the Arts & Business New Partners investment scheme. The latter involved surgery meetings with arts and business professionals, giving advice on how to develop sponsorship partnerships that would result in a successful application to Arts & Business for match funding.  Since joining the Trust as Development Manager, Marie has secured funding from charitable trusts and Lottery funders for a wide variety of projects, including the EDGE Young Volunteers project and Learning at the Centre, a project delivering tailored learning for adults with physical and learning disabilities at Basingstoke Discovery Centre.  Her expertise includes conducting diagnostic meetings with museums and arts professionals to discuss and develop potential projects, identifying specific areas within those projects that could attract funding, evidence gathering, researching and identifying potential funding sources. Having spent many years in her previous job reading funding proposals and giving advice to arts organisations on how to improve these, she is practiced in writing targetted and focussed proposals. Marie also has a track record of line management of staff recruited for specific projects, including monitoring the delivery of projects against stated outcomes and writing evaluation reports for funders.


Marie McDade

Erin McMurtry

Senior Project Manager

Erin joined the Trust in 2017 as the Project Manager for the EDGE Project (New Forest) having previously worked in social enterprise management and community events, specialising in helping young people with complex needs gain skills for employment.

Erin has a Masters degree in Environmental Science from the University of Southampton and has experience managing a Building Better Opportunities (BBO) project for unemployed individuals with multiple barriers to working. Having previously also worked as a community support worker for children and adults with autism and other complex needs, she has a wide range of skills and experience working in the charity sector. She manages the Memory Box Project implementing delivery, strategic development and inter-generational themes.

Outside of work Erin enjoys keeping active and setting new fitness goals, volunteering for Pets as Therapy, and reading.

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Erin McMurty

Heather Parkinson

Education and Research Manager

Heather Joined the Trust in February 2016 as Project Manager for The Memory Box Project in the Southampton area and is now Education and Research Officer for the Trust, helping to monitor and measure the impacts of our projects. Before working for the Trust Heather worked within the health care sector in a variety of roles in dementia homes, as Health Care Assistant and Home Based Trainer.

Whilst Managing The Memory Box Project Heather was nominated for a National Dementia Care award 2018, and was one of 5 finalists in the Dementia Champion category.

She is committed to making a difference in dementia care and promoting the well being of those living with dementia and their families. In her role as Education and Research Manager she is working hard to evidence, develop and assess the outcomes of our projects and create new, effective ways of measuring impact and ensuring our projects are successful.

Outside of work Heather enjoys creative hobbies such as painting, cake artistry and baking.


Heather Parkinson

Codey Hickman

Project Coordinator - The Memory Box Project (North)

Codey joined the Trust in March 2019 as Project Coordinator for The Memory Box Project (North). He has a background in care, with the added experience of a Healthcare Assistant role and most recently Activity Team Leader where he has created various activities for the clients and residents of the care home. He has a wealth of experience in leading a team, coordinating volunteers and fundraising within his roles. Codey has a passion for improving the quality of dementia care, having supported and built relationships with residents and clients over the years.

Outside of work Codey enjoys spending time with his family and three dogs.

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Codey Hickman

Catherine West

Project Coordinator - The Memory Box Project (Dorchester)

Catherine joined the Trust in March 2019 as Project Coordinator for The Memory Box Project (Dorchester). She has a background in teaching, most recently working a Lead Teacher in two primary schools. Whilst completing a Masters Degree in Cultural Heritage and Resource Management at the University of Winchester, she has held the position of Engagement Officer in a Hampshire Regimental Museum. 

Catherine has a passion for introducing communities to their local heritage and facilitating shared experiences. She has made significant progress in building relationships in Dorchester and creating opportunities to reminisce personal stories with dementia care clients and their carers.

Outside of work Catherine enjoys swimming, reading, and creative activities. 

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Catherine West


Katherine Mills

Digital Officer - Memory Box Project Online

Katherine joins the Trust in March 2019 as Project Coordinator (West) for the Memories Brought Home project, and is now our Digital Officer since March 2020. Since completing a Masters Degree in Museum Studies, Katherine has since been working in Museums and Galleries across Hampshire and Dorset for the last 8 years. Taking on a variety of roles, she has experience in volunteer management, exhibition design and digital collections, and comes to the Trust from her last job as Curator and Manager of Petersfield Museum. As the Digital Officer, Katherine is responsible for creating a complete Memory Box Online reminiscence archive. This project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Alongside her work, Katherine is an avid reader and has a keen interest in photography – particularly people photography, documenting the quiet but evocative moments of everyday life. She is looking forward to bringing her creative side to this role and encouraging storytelling through human connections and supporting people to be involved in their local community

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Katherine Mills