Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Reappointments to the National Heritage Memorial Fund and The National Lottery Heritage Fund [February 2024]

The press release issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on 13 February 2024.

The Prime Minister has reappointed Dr Simon Thurley as Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Mukesh Sharma has been reappointed as Northern Ireland Trustee.

Dr Simon Thurley

Reappointed from 01 April 2024 to 31 March 2027

Dr. Simon Thurley was first appointed as Chair in 2021. He also serves on the Delivery Authority for the Restoration and Renewal of the Houses of Parliament and is chairman of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. Between 2015 and 2023 he was a trustee of the British Library and he played a role in setting up the Canal and River Trust, of which he was a trustee until 2015. In 2021-22 he was Provost of Gresham College.

Between 2002 and 2015 he was Chief Executive of English Heritage responsible for the National Heritage Collection of 420 sites including Stonehenge and Dover Castle, as well as for the National Heritage Protection system, including the listing of buildings. For five years from 1997 he was director of the Museum of London, the world’s largest city museum and its archaeological unit MoLAS.

For eight years in the 1990s he was Curator and Surveyor of the Fabric at Historic Royal Palaces leading various projects including the Restoration of the Privy Garden at Hampton Court. As a historian Simon has written thirteen books including a history of English Architecture, Building England and the story of heritage protection, Men from the Ministry. His latest book Palaces of Revolution won the Samuel Pepys Prize for 2023. In 2011 he was made CBE for services to heritage; he is married with two children and lives in Norfolk.

Mukesh Sharma

Reappointed from 31 August 2023 to 30 August 2026

Mukesh Sharma was born in England and raised in Northern Ireland within the Indian community. He has a breadth of experience in business growth and acquisition, organisational change, partnership working and advocacy in developing international partnerships.

Mukesh has spent more than 30 years in the travel, tourism and airline industry. He has worked in the UK and abroad, heading up a number of major companies during this time. He was awarded an MBE in 2016 for Services to the travel industry in Northern Ireland. In 2016, Mukesh was commissioned as Deputy Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast.

He has led many initiatives across Northern Ireland to promote the arts, community cohesion and the prevention of racism, sectarianism and hate crime. He serves as a board member of a number of charities including ArtsEkta, The Goliath Trust, Moving on Music and is a committee member of The Prince’s Trust Northern Ireland and chair of the Northern Ireland advisory board for Barnardos. Since 2006 he has been a festival director of the Belfast Mela and from 2006-2013 he was Chair of Newtownabbey Borough Council Good Relations Partnership.

In 2016, Mukesh was appointed to the Northern Ireland Executive Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition. The commission, made up of political and non-political representatives, undertook a programme of work to shape a Northern Ireland free from segregation and division. The commission’s work ended in 2020 with the submission of a report to the First and Deputy First Minister.

In April 2023, he was appointed as a member of The Northern Ireland Policing Board, an independent public body which oversees The Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Remuneration and Governance Code

The Chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Lottery Heritage Fund is remunerated at £40,000 per annum and the Northern Ireland Trustee is remunerated at £20,749 per annum. These appointments have been made in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments. The appointments process is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Under the Code, any significant political activity undertaken by an appointee in the last five years must be declared. This is defined as including holding office, public speaking, making a recordable donation, or candidature for election. Simon Thurley and Mukesh Sharma have declared no political activity.