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Bath Preservation Trust chief executive to step down

The chief executive of the charity responsible for Bath’s UNESCO World Heritage status is stepping down after 13 years in the role.

Caroline Kay will leave the Bath Preservation Trust (BPT) this month.

According to the charity, Ms Kay was originally due to step down in July 2020, but agreed to stay on for 10 months to lead the organisation through the Covid pandemic.

The charity owns and operates four museums in Bath including No 1 Royal Crescent, the Museum of Bath Architecture, Beckford’s Tower and Herschel Museum of Astronomy.

The BPT was among a number of South West organisations, including Glastonbury Festival, to receive funding from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund in the wake of the pandemic. It was awarded more than £192,000 to help it recover.

“Bath Preservation Trust has meant a great deal to me over the last 13-and-a-half years and it was for that reason I stayed on to help weather the storm of 2020,” said Ms Kay.

“While there are still challenges ahead, thanks to the efforts we put in and the encouraging support we have received from external funders including the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the DCMS.

“I am confident the trustees and the dedicated and hardworking staff team, present and future, will be able to take the Trust to an even better place going forward.”

Since taking up the role, Ms Kay has overseen a £5m redevelopment and expansion of No. 1 Royal Crescent museum – the first building at the eastern end of the Royal Crescent in Bath – and helped boost visitor numbers 22%.

She was also involved in adding the Herschel Museum of Astronomy to BPT’s portfolio of museums and oversaw the production of two award-winning planning guidance manuals, Warmer Bath and Making Changes. She also examined more than 1,500 planning and listed building applications in Bath, according to BPT.

The charity is now looking for someone to fill the top job, which has a salary of £60,000.

“I now feel able to move on and consider other ways of exercising my professional and personal interests,” added Ms Kay. “I’d like to thank all the colleagues I’ve worked with over all those years inside and outside the organisation for their dedicated service and the fun and privilege of their company.”

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Thomas Sheppard, chair of BPT trustees, added: “Caroline has worked tirelessly for the trust to lead it through a period of considerable change and for many she is its public face.

“We want to celebrate Caroline’s significant contribution to making the trust the respected and well-run organisation it is today and also to thank her for her hard work and commitment in leaving the trust in good, if reduced, shape to face an exciting and challenging post-pandemic world.”

Bath Preservation Trust was set up in 1934 to safeguard Bath, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only complete city in the UK with World Heritage Status.

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