Supporting the provision of quality welfare for seafarers and their dependants


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

Peter Tomlin MBE MNM – 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 - Deputy Chief Executive

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. She then spent the next 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.

Katherine Lockwood (currently on maternity leave) - Port Welfare Committee Manager

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.

Tom Holmer  - Port Welfare Committee Manager

Tom takes on this role as maternity leave replacement for Katherine Lockwood in 2020/1. His background in seafarers’ welfare started with the ITF working in the actions unit and as researcher, and with the ITF Seafarer’s Trust. He has also worked with ISWAN on alleviating the affects of maritime piracy on seafarers and their families, and with the Sustainable Shipping Initiative on reducing the environmental impact of shipping. Most recently he has worked on the International Port Welfare Partnership with MNWB on behalf of ISWAN, and is now learning the nuts and bolts work of Port Welfare Committee operation.

Helen van Gass - Training & Welfare Manager

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 from South Africa, and worked in a few short-term positions before joining the Board in 2016.

Aiden Harvey - Projects & Welfare Co-ordinator

Aiden has spent the majority of his working life in the customer service sector beginning with customer complaints at British Gas. He then changed direction and for the following 10 years was on the staff of a local Hampshire housing association where he became a Lettings Officer. He was responsible for liaising with all the councils across southern England to arrange re-lets of empty properties, as well as working with local agencies responsible for the government’s new homes targets. Primarily targeting small rural schemes, he worked with local parish councils in delivering affordable housing for local people. Aiden joined the Board in April 2017 as Project Administrator.

Celia Jackson - Executive Assistant

Prior to joining the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, Celia worked as a Chief Stewardess on Superyachts. Her work enabled her to travel the world but after more than eight years at sea she relocated to Southampton looking for a better work-life balance. Celia was excited to join the Board in 2018 in a role where she has been able to put to good use her organisational skills and thoroughly enjoys the variety of her work at the Board as Peter’s Executive Assistant. She also brings to the Board a strong empathy and understanding of some of the challenges facing today’s seafarers. Prior to yachting, Celia worked in recruitment advertising after graduating from University with a BA Hons in French and Spanish.

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