New Chairman for the National Churches Trust

Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Luke March has been appointed as the new Chairman of the National Churches Trust. He succeeds Michael Hoare, who has served as Chairman since 2003.

Currently Chairman of Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, and previously Chairman of the National Friends of Citizens' Advice Bureaux, Luke March is a Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire and a Lay Canon and member of the Chapter at Salisbury Cathedral.

Luke March said:

"I am honoured to have been elected by the trustees of the National Churches Trust as its new Chairman. I would like to pay tribute to Michael Hoare for the tremendous work and dedication he has given to the Trust over the last decade. During that time he has helped transform it into a modern outward-facing charity and he leaves a strong legacy. Our nation's places of worship form a vital part of communities up and down the country and are central to our heritage. I look forward to working with fellow trustees, our Chief Executive Claire Walker and the rest of the Trust staff in taking forward the organisation in the next stage of its development and helping even more churches, chapels and meeting houses to sustain their buildings for the future.”

Writing in the National Churches Trust Annual Review for 2011 – 2012 , retiring  Chairman Michael Hoare said:

“The Trust’s primary task, inherited from the Historic Churches Preservation Trust, is of supporting places of worship through the distribution of grants for repairs and improvements. With over £14 million awarded in grants during my time as Chairman, the Trust has been able to make a significant difference to many buildings and communities up and down the country.”

“Whilst many churches are in a better condition than ever, and cooperation and communication within the church heritage sector is greatly improved, many challenges remain. Compared with the institutional support provided in other European countries the situation at home is one characterised by modest financial support from government and an enormous contribution of volunteers both to managing the buildings and for raising the finance for their upkeep.”
“Looking to the future, the recent threats to the sector of changes in the VAT rules show the importance of lobbying effectively; it is also essential that as much help as possible be provided to those given the task of looking after places of worship, to ensure that these buildings are both well-managed and used – essential pre-requisites of their being handed down in good condition to future generations.”

About Luke March

Luke March DL has a wide background in both executive and non-executive roles in the public and private sectors. He is currently Chairman of Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, and previously served as Chairman of the National Friends of Citizens' Advice Bureaux. He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire in 2011, is a Lay Canon and member of the Chapter at Salisbury Cathedral and was formerly a member of St Paul's Cathedral Council. He has been He has been Chairman of the Audit Committee of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, and Chief Executive of the Mortgage Code Compliance Board, Group Compliance Director for the Royal Mail Group, Corporate Governance Director for BT and Group Company Secretary and Compliance Director for the TSB Group.

He has also held a number of previous non-executive roles in the NHS, including Director and Chair of the Audit Committee of Barts and The London NHS Trust, Vice Chairman of the East London and The City Health Authority and Chair of the Winchester Health Authority. Brought up in a Vicarage in Eastbourne, then to Chichester where his father was Canon Treasurer he read Law and Politics at Durham University St John’s College, on whose Council he currently serves. He was a member of the Archbishops’ Review Group on bishops’ needs and resources. A choral music enthusiast, Luke March lives near Salisbury..