The lighthouse and the sea at Orford Ness

New Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund North East committee appointed 


Chris Mullin has been appointed as the new Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) North East committee. 

His first meeting will take place in June 2011.

The HLF Committee for the North East is made up of leading figures in the heritage sector across the region who are chosen for their wide range of experience and local knowledge. Responsible for making decisions on regional applications to the fund from £50,000 to £1million, the committee is supported by the regional HLF team for the North East, which operates from Newcastle-based offices.

Chris will join the other members of the committee made up of local people through and recruited through open advertisement. Their expertise widely reflects and complements the range of heritage applications that HLF receives.

Chris Mullin brings experience as a journalist and author. He was the MP for Sunderland South for 23 years and has been a Minister in three government departments. As an MP he took a close interest in the preservation of Sunderland's Victorian heritage. His books include the novel A very British Coup which was made into a successful television series and two best-selling volumes of diaries. Currently he is a judge of this year’s Man Booker prize.

Chris Mullin, Chair of the HLF Committee in the North East, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund has funded some wonderful projects in the North East over the last 16 years and I am very much looking forward to joining the team.”

Ivor Crowther, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the North East region, said: “We are extremely pleased to be welcoming Chris as the new chair of the committee. He brings a wealth of experience to what is already a very strong team of decision makers. His wide ranging expertise and strong regional awareness will be of great benefit to both HLF and the heritage of the North East.”

HLF funds an amazing array of projects that encompass all aspects of the UK’s rich and diverse heritage. The committee covers a territory that Chris Mullin will chair stretches from Berwick-upon-Tweed right down to Middlesbrough. Over the last 16 years, £214million has been invested into over 1,000 projects across the North East. These range from the restoration of historic buildings, improvements to museums and galleries, makeovers for town parks, purchasing works of art and treasured artefacts, helping to conserve the natural environment, and promoting community involvement in conserving local social histories.

The projects are both large and small ranging from multi-million pound building refurbishments to local youngsters tracing the history of their local town and filming a DVD or producing a play. People are at the heart of HLF projects and volunteers play a pivotal part in making them happen. As well as helping to preserve the heritage that means the most to them, volunteers and local people have opportunities to learn new skills and take part in important educational and training sessions.

Recent highlights in the region awarded by the North East Committee include £2m to two regeneration projects in Stockton, Preston Hall Walled Kitchen Garden and Central Stockton THI. Wallsend Boys Club and Durham Amateur Football Trust also recently received HLF funding to look into and preserve their rich footballing history for the future.

Notes to editors

Biography: Chris Mullin - author, journalist and politician

Currently a judge in the 2011 Man Booker Prize. Books include two highly acclaimed volumes of diaries - Decline & Fall and A View from the Foothills ("The most wickedly indiscreet and elegant memoirs since those of Alan Clark" - Mail on Sunday).  A third volume will be published in September.

Author of three novels, including the classic political thriller, A Very British Coup, the television version of which won BAFTA and Emmy awards and was shown in more than 30 countries. Also, Error of Judgement - the truth about the Birmingham Bombings which led to the correction of one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in British legal history; made into a drama documentary by Granada Television in which Chris Mullin was played by John Hurt.

Member of Parliament for Sunderland South (1987-2010).

A minister in three departments - Environment, Transport & Regions (1999-2001). Responsibilities included: aviation, recycling and countryside issues.

International Development (February to May 2001).

The Foreign Office (2003-2005).

Africa Minister Chairman.

Home Affairs Select Committee 1997-1999 and 2001-2003. Member of the committee since 1992.

Member, Standards and Privileges Committee

A board member of the Prison Reform Trust (2006-2010).

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported more than 30,000 projects allocating over £4.5billion across the UK, including more than 1,800 projects totalling over £214million in the North East.  

Have your say: HLF’s three-month consultation Shaping the future – for heritage, for everyone is now live on our website and all views will help shape HLF’s strategy from 2013 to 2019. This is people’s chance to tell us what they think we should continue to do and what we should do differently. To find out more.  

Further information

Laura Bates, HLF Press Office on 020 7591 6027 or

New Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund North East committee 
Chris Mullin - new Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund North East committee