The team are central to our organisation and what we stand for:

David Parsons MNM MNI - Chief Executive

David Parsons joined the Merchant Navy in 1964 following three years pre-sea training aboard the Training Ship ‘Mercury’ and is currently the chairman of the Mercury Old Boys Association. He spent his first six years with Shaw Savill & Albion Line on the Australia and New Zealand trades on both passenger and refrigerated cargo vessels. In 1971 he joined the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, serving on a variety of vessels, where he remained until 1977. His last sixteen years at sea were spent on P&O Ferries (formerly Thoresen Car Ferries), sailing firstly out of Southampton and then Portsmouth to Le Havre and Cherbourg, where he attained the rank of master. Since 1993 he has worked as Chief Executive of the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, firstly in London at the former Merchant Navy Hotel and latterly in Southampton. He is a Younger Brother of Trinity House, trustee member of Council for Seafarers UK and the Royal Merchant Navy School Foundation.  He was awarded the Merchant Navy Medal in 2011 for services to seafarer’s welfare.

Peter Tomlin MBE – Deputy Chief Executive

Peter joined the Merchant Navy Welfare Board in 2002, having served 26 years in the Royal Navy, working his way through the ranks to Lieutenant Commander. Both a Seaman Officer and specialist Physical Training and Recreation Officer, he served in numerous ships ranging from fishery protection vessels to frigates. He also served as RN Executive Officer and Deputy Queen's Harbour Master in Gibraltar. A widely experienced and highly qualified professional Project Manager (Prince2, NEBOSH, IT), accomplished event organiser and practised Instructor, his career has always been heavily involved in charitable and welfare activities. Awarded the MBE in 1998 for his endeavours in the maritime sector, Peter continues to work on collaborative and innovative projects to benefit seafarers' welfare. He was awarded the Merchant Navy Medal in 2013 for services to seafarer's welfare.

Sharon Coveney - Port Welfare Committee Manager

Sharon joined the Board in May 2013. She chose to follow the footsteps of both her parents and brother by joining the Merchant Navy in 1993.  After spending 4 years at sea with P&O cruises she pursued a career change to work with homeless people suffering with mental illness. Since then, she has spent the last 14 years delivering community support and accommodation based support services.  Her last role included the management and service delivery of 8 supported housing projects for care leavers, homeless pregnant teenagers, single homeless and mental health / dual diagnosis. Sharon describes herself as having a natural empathy towards people and a “can do” attitude.  Her mother lived at the Merchant Seaman’s War Memorial Society (now known as Care Ashore) for over 20 years. This, she says, has given her a thorough awareness of the issues that seafarers may face as well as personal experience of a maritime charity that provides accommodation and support.

Sarah Edward Port Welfare Committee Manager

After graduating from the University of Wales with an Honours Degree in Heritage Conservation and Archaeology, Sarah went on to work for the National Trust honing her administration rather than digging skills. After a stint in the NHS as a Clerical Officer, Sarah decided she needed a change of scenery and joined the Merchant Navy. She spent 4 years at sea as a Purser with Princess Cruises before joining the Board in 2009.

Sally Oliver MIW (Acc.) - Welfare Manager

Having completed  Secretarial College, and being credited with numerous RSA and Pitman qualifications, Sally joined a major Finance Company where she worked as a Chief Finance Clerk and Senior Typist. She later turned her hand to the Care Sector and gained over 10 years of extensive training and experience within the Social Services and NHS sector, particularly specialising in adult mental health.  She has also worked as a Care Manager in the Domiciliary Sector.  Following the completion of a year’s study with The Institute of Welfare Officers Sally gained a qualifying certificate. She is also an Accredited Member of the Institute of Welfare and has a Diploma in Welfare Studies.  Sally joined the Board in 2006 and is the Welfare  Manager, as well as the lead on the Seafarer Support Referral Line.

Katherine Pegrum - Office & Training Manager, PA to the Chief Executive

With a keen interest in sailing, Katherine spent two years working at sea as Lead Crew on sailing flotillas, living aboard the Lead Boat and guiding clients and their fleet of yachts around the beautiful Sporades Islands in Greece.  Before working abroad, and when she returned, Katherine worked for a firm of Architects where she gained six years’ experience in Office Management, Project Management, HR, and Finance.  She also has a BSc Degree in Equine Science and Business Management, horses being her childhood passion.  Katherine joined the Board in August 2016. 

Helen van Gass - Project Administrator

From school, Helen worked in foreign exchange, commercial, and mercantile banking where she remained until the birth of her sons.  Helen then volunteered at her children’s school, and ran a school after-care centre for 200 children for nearly 20 years.  During this time, Helen also volunteered in the school finance department, assisting parents with access to school fee subsidies, and was elected Vice Chairman of the school’s Governing Body.  Helen then returned to England, where she worked in a few short-term positions before joining the Board as Project Administrator in 2016. 

Rebecca Stalker - Deputy Project Manager

Rebecca has spent the last 15 years working in the Charities Sector, working alongside local communities around Training, Learning, Education, Volunteer and Project Management.  She has worked collaboratively on projects with all ages, backgrounds, and cultures, and has a passion for community development and support.  She has worked for English Heritage, The National Trust, London Borough of Camden, and Dorset Community Action as well as the Housing sector.  With a degree in Archaeology, a Masters in Museums and Collections Management and a PGCE in RE Secondary, she has transferrable skills which she is now bringing to the Seafaring community having joined the Board in January 2017.    
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