Prof Neil McClure - Chair
Neil was the driving force behind the transformation of Portaferry Presbyterian Church into the Portico of Ards. In 2007, he set up the charity the Friends of Portaferry Presbyterian Church (renamed Portico of Ards Ltd in 2020) with five other congregation members and successfully raised £1.6m. He managed the restoration of the church in 2014-2015 and its opening as an Arts and Heritage Centre in 2016. Neil has been recognised for his work in rescuing a heritage building with a ‘Heritage Angel’ award.
Neil continues to play a significant role at Portico, strategically, as Chair of the Board, and operationally, by giving support to the management team, particularly within the classical music programme. On a practical level, he carries out much of Portico’s maintenance work and supervises the care of the garden and grounds. Neil also directs Portico’s community choir, the NewQuay Singers.
Neil retired from his role as Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Queen’s University Belfast in 2020. He is a keen amateur musician, gardener and DIY enthusiast.
David McMullan - Treasurer
David is a founder member of the Board from 2007 and a member of the Portaferry Presbyterian congregation (who are now Portico’s tenants). He has been Treasurer at Portico since 2019 and works with the finance sub-committee to oversee Portico’s finances.
David is a civil servant in DARD’s Forestry Division. With his considerable expertise and interest in plants, he also helps to maintain Portico’s grounds.
Robin McClelland - Secretary
Robin joined the Board of Portico in 2021 and became Secretary in 2022. He was formerly a Non-Executive Director on the Board of the Health & Social Care Business Services Organisation, from 2009 to 2017. Since 2018 he has been a Trustee Board Member of Community Advice Ards and North Down (formerly Citizens Advice Ards and North Down), and Vice Chair since September 2019. He is experienced in dealing with human resources, corporate governance, strategic planning and financial oversight.
Robin is retired trade union official with the Northern Ireland Public Services Alliance. He has a keen interest in music and theatre and is an amateur composer.
Naomi Bailie Doran
Naomi joined the Board in 2022. After working as political adviser and researcher, Naomi was a councillor for Sinn Fein for several years and served as Chair of Newry Mourne and Down Council before illness stopped her career five years ago. Following a long recovery process, Naomi is now keen to use her experience in outreach work and community connections to help build a better Portaferry.
Naomi is from, and lives in, Portaferry. She particularly enjoys comedy events.
Duane Fitzsimons joined the Board in 2022. Duane is a heritage tour guide and runs Lecale Peninsula Tours. He has extensive local heritage knowledge and has published two books on the history of religion in the Lecale area. Duane is a Director of Ardglass Development Association.
Duane works for Belfast City Council promoting outdoor activities.
Alison joined the Board in 2021. She is the co-founder and director of Open House in Bangor. Open House delivers a month-long festival in Bangor each year, plus a year-round programme of events, and an annual placemaking vintage festival called Seaside Revival, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Her 20 year involvement with Open House has given her broad experience in managing a small arts charity, including fundraising and sponsorship, budgeting and financial management, strategic planning, marketing, governance and event management.
Alison lives in Bangor and enjoys all kinds of arts events.
Howard joined the Board in 2020. He is the Managing Director of the Hastings Hotels Group. Hastings Hotels owns and operates seven hotels in Northern Ireland, comprising over 1000 bedrooms. The company also owns 50% of the prestigious Merrion Hotel in Dublin.
Howard is currently on the boards of Titanic Belfast, Visit Belfast, Food NI and the NI Centenary Advisory Panel. Previous board memberships include NI Tourist Board (Chair 2009-2015), Tourism Ireland (2000-2016), NI Hotels Federation (Founding President 1999-2001) and Investors in People UK (1994-2000). Howard was awarded an OBE in 2014 for services to Tourism and Hospitality.
Ros is a founder member of the Board from 2007 and a member of the Portaferry Presbyterian congregation. She served as Assistant Treasurer from 2012 to 2019 and still manages the GiftAid claims on behalf of Portico of Ards Ltd.
Ros is a retired orthodontist and amateur organist.
Suzie joined the Board in 2018. She was a Director, and Head of Pastoral Care, at MT4Uth (Music Theatre For Youth) from 2006 to 2012. She now runs her own wedding and events flower business, Florestina.
Suzie has a keen interest in heritage. She is a Committee member of the Northern Ireland Heritage Gardens Trust which is committed to preserving for future generations the historic parks, demesnes and gardens of the island of Ireland. She is also on the Tours Commitee of the International Dendrology Society which organises tours worldwide.
Suzie has also authored a book on the history of Christ Church in Carrowdore.
In her spare time, Suzie enjoys singing in Portico’s community choir, The Newquay Singers.