At present we are a Volunteer-led organisation.

Our volunteers research local maritime history, collect and record artefacts, photographs and documents with a view to establishing a collection, which we hope to house in a maritime hub that will celebrate the skills and traditions of the past as well as current practices and future developments in the maritime world.

The hub will be housed in a heritage building, promoting the rich built heritage of the area, which is closely linked to the histories of sea captains, shipowners and merchants who once lived there.

To raise awareness of our project we run events and exhibitions with a maritime theme throughout the year.

Founding member and former chairperson, Eleanor, Lady Brown, has had to resign from her position due to ongoing health problems.  She remains committed to the aims of Portaferry and Strangford Trust and we know we can count on her support at all times.


Director Profiles

  • Mr James Elliott
    Mr James Elliott Chairperson

    James researches and gives talks on maritime history. He has become an enthusiastic coastal rower and amateur maritime archaeologist.

  • Mrs Allison Murphy
    Mrs Allison Murphy Honorary Secretary

    Allison is a former teacher, who is an author, historian and historical display textwriter (most recently for Belfast City Council’s “Decade of Centenaries” exhibition). Allison is currently employed as Education Officer with Portaferry Regeneration Ltd and produces all their leaflets and media articles. Experienced as events organiser of Belfast Titanic Society and editor of their journal for twelve years, Allison is a Director of Portaferry and Strangford Trust and Friends of Exploris Trust as well as Cofounder of ReNeW charity shops.

  • Mr Gary Laverty
    Mr Gary Laverty Vice Chair

    Gary is the Project Manager for Portaferry Regeneration Limited’s Townscape Heritage Initiative. He is the Treasurer of Strangford Village Committee and organiser of their summer and Christmas events. He has previously worked in the social housing sector for Fold Housing Association as Senior Estates Officer and as a self-employed building contractor employing fifteen people.

  • Mr Gerard Lennon
    Mr Gerard Lennon

    Gerard is Chairman of the Upper Ards Historical Society, Director of Portaferry Regeneration Limited, Committee Member of Friends of Portaferry Presbyterian Church and Committee Member of Portaferry Credit Union. He is a local historian and walking guide, as well as a maritime enthusiast.

  • Professor Ronnie Buchanan
    Professor Ronnie Buchanan

    Ronnie is a retired academic with a keen interest in local history. He has served on many bodies including those relating to historic monuments and built heritage. Most notably, he is a former Regional Chairman of the National Trust (Northern Ireland).

  • Mrs Maureen McCarthy
    Mrs Maureen McCarthy

    Maureen is a local businesswoman and cofounder of ReNeW charity shops. She is the local event organiser for Cancer Research (UK). She organised Portaferry’s first ever seafood festival.

  • Dr Julia Sigwart
    Dr Julia Sigwart

    Julia is Director of Queen’s University Belfast Marine Lab in Portaferry. This post involves lecturing and research as well as management of the marine station including long-term research strategy and daily supervision of support team. Julia has previously held posts as Scientific Assistant, American Museum of National History, New York and Museum Collections Researcher, University College Dublin and National Museum of Ireland (Natural History), Dublin.

  • Elaine Roddy
    Elaine Roddy

    Having completed a degree in English and Philosophy, Elaine Roddy closely followed this with a PG Dip in Admin and Legal Studies and, after a wide variety of posts, is currently employed part-time as an Accounts Assistant for Portaferry Regeneration Limited, part-time for Ard Cuan Residential Home and all the time at home for her three young children.

    She is Secretary of Friends of Exploris Trust, has recently joined the Scouting Association as a Cub Leader and is happy to be appointed a director of Portaferry and Strangford Trust as she is committed to the preservation and promotion of the largely untold fascinating maritime history of the ports of Portaferry and Strangford.