York Archaeological Trust's Board of Trustees
York Archaeological Trust is run by a Board of Trustees that oversee the strategic operations of the Trust. Information on the Trustees can be found here.
Professor Anthony (Tony) Robards, O.B.E., Ph.D., D.Sc. FRSB. Chair
Tony was educated at The Skinners’ School, Tunbridge Wells, and University College London where he took first and higher degrees in Biology. He was appointed to the University of York in 1966 and has published over 130 scientific papers and books in pure and applied biological research for which he was awarded a D.Sc. by the University of London and a Personal Chair at the University of York. He has been President of the Royal Microscopical Society and his academic career has spanned more than 40 years at the University during which time he served for 8 years on the Senior Management Team as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for External Relations and latterly as HSBC’s Chair of Innovation at the University of York.
Tony has been a central figure in enterprise and entrepreneurship in Yorkshire for many years, acting as the interface between the University of York with businesses, the City and the Region. He has been at the heart of many initiatives to stimulate innovation in the region, including as a co-founder of Science City York and the founder of Venturefest Yorkshire; he is a past President of the York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, and a Non-Executive Director of a number of public and private sector companies (see attached list).
Over recent years Tony has been substantially involved with the 650 year old Company of Merchant Adventurers of the City of York of which he was Governor in 2008-09. This charitable Company is very similar in background and objectives to the Liveried Companies of the City of London and currently has around 160 members drawn from business leaders in York and its environs.
With his background having strong links into both academia and the business world, Tony has spent the past few years engaged in relevant consultancy, non-executive posts, and involvement in the charity and voluntary sector. He has just completed his term (2 x 3yr) as Chairman of Yorkshire Cancer Research, a regional charity distributing around £5.0M pa for cancer research in Yorkshire and for which he has led major strategic and operational change. As a life-long opera lover he is now able to commit more time to supporting Opera North, for which he is a member of the Development Board and chairman of the Patron’s Development Group.
Tony was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, 2002, for “Services to Higher Education” arising from his work to link the University with the local business community; in November 2003 he received the first ever ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the Yorkshire Evening Press Business Awards ceremony. His leisure interests include music, sailing, horology and photography.
Elizabeth Heaps. Vice-Chair
After working at the University of York for 37 years, Elizabeth Heaps retired in 2013. Her final post from 2007-2013 was as Pro Vice Chancellor for Estates and Strategic Projects, where she was responsible for the £750 million, 112 ha Heslington East campus expansion onto a green field site adjacent to the original campus, and for the strategic development of the estate as a whole. Elizabeth also oversaw development projects worth some £100m on the original Heslington West campus.
Elizabeth was a member of the RIBA Higher Education Design Quality Forum and a contributor to conferences in the area of planning and strategic development of estates. She was also a Lay Assessor for the RIBA awards 2013.
Elizabeth has degrees in French and Medieval Studies, and professional librarianship qualifications. She joined the University of York Library in 1976, holding a number of posts before becoming the University Librarian from 1997 to 2007, and assuming responsibility for the internationally renowned Borthwick Institute for Archives from 2003. She contributed at regional, national and international level to developments in the libraries, archives and museums sector.
Elizabeth is a member of the Company of Merchant Adventurers of the City of York, and joined the Board of the York Archaeological Trust in 2014.
Richard is an admitted solicitor with Crombie Wilkinson and has dealt with many significant cases during his time there from 1978.
He served as Local Authority Councillor for 21 years, first, on Ryedale District Council and, post-local government reorganisation, on City of York Council.Richard had significant involvement with planning, spending 17 years regularly sitting on Planning Committees, chairing City of York main Planning Committee from 2003 – 2011, where he dealt with Heslington East from the pre-application stage to include outline application, detailed stages for clusters 1 and 2, landscaping and sports centre.
Other positions held include Vice-Chairman of Policy Committee at Ryedale District Council where he helped to create the Ryedale Housing Association, becoming a Board member and, later, committee member of Yorkshire Housing Association; Sheriff of York from 2010 – 2011 and created Honory Alderman in 2011.
Helen Dobson BA ACA
After studying French at Durham University, Helen qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG in Leeds in 1991. For the three years of the accountancy training contract whilst primarily honing audit skills, her other projects included corporate finance and merger/acquisition work.
Following a brief spell with Linpac Plastics International as a Projects Accountant with a European brief, Helen worked as a volunteer in India for 8 months working with the exiled Tibetan Government in Dharumsala, Northern India.
In 1994 whilst working for Coopers and Lybrand Helen was seconded to the Funding Agency for Schools to set up the financial monitoring system for all the Grant Maintained Schools. The secondment became a permanent position and lasted until 1999 when the Agency was disbanded due to changes in government policy.
Helen joined Opera North as Finance Director in September 1999. Since that date Opera North has achieved financial stability and a new home.
In addition to a full time job with Opera North, Helen has three children and is a member of the Court of the University of York, a member of York University Audit committee and Treasurer of St Edward’s Chuch Dringhouses.
Dr David Neave
Dr David Neave is social, landscape and building historian who for over 45 years has researched, written and lectured on eastern Yorkshire. He is the author of many books and articles, often jointly with his wife Dr Susan Neave, including the revision of Pevsner’s Buildings of England volume on Yorkshire: York and the East Riding and the Pevsner Architectural Guide to Hull.
For his work promoting the heritage of the East Riding and the preservation of its historic buildings he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of York in 2008. David is a Life Fellow of the University of Hull where he was Senior Lecturer in Regional and Local History.
Susan Palmer OBE
Susan was educated at Yarm Grammar School, read history at Cambridge and business studies at London Business School. Her career was in marketing/communications in financial and professional services operating at national and international board level. As Marketing Communications Director of Grant Thornton International, a worldwide accounting organisation, she developed a strong global brand, supported by profile raising activities and client satisfaction work.
For many years she has also had an active involvement in arts and heritage. She is a Trustee of the Bowes Museum, and the Rowntree Society and chairs the Benevolent Fund of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. She is a Governor of St Peter’s School, York, a member of York University Court and chairs the Archaeology Department Advisory Board.
With an involvement of over thirty years, she has been a Trustee of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Chatham Historic Dockyard, the Sage Gateshead, the Anna Plowden Trust, Malton Museum Foundation, the European School of Management and a member of the National Railway Museum Advisory Board.
She was awarded the OBE in 2004 for services to national heritage.
Richard Morris began his archaeological career in 1971 as a member of the team excavating under York Minster, moving from there to become the Churches Officer of the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), responsible for setting up archaeological advice networks for churches and cathedrals. In 1988 he joined the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. In 1991 he returned to the CBA as its director, there helping to launch the popular magazine British Archaeology. From 2003 to 2010 he directed the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds, moving to become a professor in the Department of History at Huddersfield in 2010.
Richard is an energetic champion of the study and care of the historic environment. From 1996 to 2005 he served as a Commissioner of English Heritage. He has chaired the Ancient Monuments Advisory Committee for England and the Expert Panel of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and is a former trustee of the National Coal Mining Museum for England. He is a former chairman of Bede’s World in Jarrow. Today he is a trustee of the York Archaeological Trust, the Landscape Research Centre, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, a member of the North East committee of the Heritage Lottery Fund and chair of The Blackden Trust. Richard is a Frend Medallist of the Society of Antiquaries of London. In 2003 he was appointed OBE for services to archaeology.
Richard’s interests in churches, settlement, and cultural history are reflected in books, essays and articles, and in particular his book Churches in the Landscape (1989). His latest book, Time’s Anvil: England, archaeology and the imagination was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and is currently shortlisted for Current Archaeology’s archaeological Book of the Year. Richard is also a published World War II historian. For the Royal Air Force Museum he is co-author of Breaching the German the Dams, an account of the Dams Raid which puts a number of its aspects under new scrutiny, as well as biographies of Guy Gibson VC DSO DFC and Leonard Cheshire VC OM. He is currently working on a new biography of the aeronautical engineer Barnes Wallis.
Professor Ellen Roberts
After studying history at the University of Cambridge, Ellen joined the Civil Service where she had a range of posts in the Department of Health and Social Security, including Ministerial Private Office, policy development work and membership of a Bill team for a major piece of mental health legislation. During this period she was also seconded to the Cabinet Office to work within a cross-departmental Unit, and was seconded to what is now Ashridge Executive Education.
Ellen then moved to the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York, initially on secondment from the Civil Service. In her current role she oversees a set of innovative online postgraduate programmes, delivered to public service professionals in a wide range of countries. She holds a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Award, and is a Senior Fellow of the Academy. She chaired the university’s Distance Learning Forum between 2009 and 2017, and has also served on the University Teaching Committee. She is currently leading her department’s work for Athena Swan, a higher education-wide initiative to promote gender equality. She is also a trustee for York Racial Equality Network.
Her key interests and experience are in enabling individuals and organisations to perform as effectively as possible, and in the role that organisational learning, professional development and the management of change play in this process.
Stephen Driscoll BA MSc Phd FSA FSA Scot
Professor Driscoll is Professor of Historical Archaeology at the University of Glasgow. For the past seven years he has been directing the Strathearn Environs & Royal Forteviot project, a multi year study investigating the interrelationships between Scotland’s early medieval kingdom and its early prehistoric past.
Since the 1990s he has be involved with excavations at Govan Old church, the burial ground of the Viking Age kings of Strathclyde, more recently he has been involved with the HLF funded Govan Stones project which is developing the site into a tourist attraction. He is the only archaeologist on Historic Scotland’s advisory committee. He is a graduate of the Universities of Glasgow and Pennsylvania. Although a American native he is lived in Scotland for over 30 years and is happily married with three girls.
Peter Wheatcroft BSc CEng FIET CITP FBCS FCMI
Peter has run a management consultancy since 2002 working across two different disciplines – the management of IT department capabilities and the deployment of technical solutions in the events business. He has been responsible for the technical design and deployment of IT services for over 25 corporate clients such as Yorkshire Building Society, Boots and the John Lewis Partnership. Before founding his own company, Peter was the Director of Commercial and Information Management for Alliance & Leicester plc, where his responsibilities encompassed the business management of information services including financial, supplier and technology partnerships and the attainment of benchmarked World Class status. Prior to that, he was Director of Technology Services responsible for integrating the IT operations of Alliance & Leicester, Girobank plc and Sovereign Finance.
He has published two text books, World Class IT Service Delivery and Service Desk & Incident Manager and many white papers on a diverse range of topics covering IT and information security. He is both a Chartered Engineer and a Chartered IT Professional and has been awarded fellowships by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), the British Computer Society (BCS) and the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET). He has also judged the annual UK IT Industry Awards since 2002.
Peter’s work in theatre and live events has involved the staging of some of the UK’s most ambitious productions as well as sound engineering projects for community radio stations, churches and diverse live events. He served as AV Advisor to the DAC for the Diocese of Leicester until 2013 and now works as a volunteer sound engineer at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre in York.
Peter is also a trustee of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society (YPS) and was elected as President of York Camera Club in 2018, where he enjoys taking and looking at pictures. He has been a life member of the Friends of YAT (FOYAT) for over 15 years, a life member of the Friends of York Minster and an active member of St Edward the Confessor at Dringhouses, where he has just completed three years as a PCC trustee.