Who we are

About us

What is the Woodbridge Riverside Trust?

WRT is a charitable trust set up to:

– Protect, preserve and enhance the character of the Deben riverside for the benefit of everyone.
– Educate people about Woodbridge’s maritime heritage

The Trust is formally registered with the Charities Commission. The WRT charity number is 1,159,510 and the company number is 06743463.

The vision

Our vision is to secure long term benefit for the community through the sheer enjoyment of our maritime history and riverside environment, embracing learning, training and skills development.

Our aims are to:

  • make the Woodbridge Waterfront an attractive and interesting place to be
  • provide opportunities for people of all ages to gain understanding of the maritime significance of Woodbridge and to acquire and use relevant practical, historical, environmental, archaeological and scientific skills
  • build connections between Woodbridge, Sutton Hoo, other parts of the United Kingdom and beyond based on our common heritage and maritime links.


The Anglo-Saxon ship:

Construction of the experimental full-scale replica of the Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon royal burial ship is the catalyst project that will define the Longshed as a centre of excellence and a major international attraction. It will cement the links with Sutton Hoo, and be an immense source of pride and identity for this part of Suffolk. The project is being led by our sister charity The Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company.

Who runs the Trust?

The Trust is run by a Board of Directors who are also trustees, and an executive team.
The executive team members may be trustee/directors, but don’t have to be. In fact, as the organisation matures, there should be separation of their roles. The trustees are responsible for overseeing the executive’s actions, making sure for example, that the Trust is still headed in the direction of its formal aims.

The Trust executive team is the final authority for plans and expenditure put up by the individual function teams who manage the following areas:

  • Management of the Longshed
  • Community activities and events including events on the John Gibbins Gallery
  • Skiff-building
  • Fundraising
  • Media and publicity
  • Administration

The trustees meet formally three or four times a year. Email us with important issues for the trustees to discuss at these meetings to: contact@woodbridgeriversidetrust.org.

The Woodbridge Riverside Trust is a community project for and about Woodbridge. If you would like to get involved in any of these activities, please email: contact@woodbridgeriversidetrust.org.


The executive team

Bryan Knibbs, Executive Chairman of the Trust.  Electrical engineer and senior project manager in the construction industry. Bryan is responsible for managing the Longshed fit out and Sae Wylfing.



Pete Clay, Trustee: (musical instrument maker, teacher, sailor, historic ships link man).  Pete was the founding chairman of the Trust, and since retiring as chairman, is now joint leader of the team responsible for historic ships and boatbuilding on the waterfront.

Malcolm Hodd, Trustee. (International media and exhibition companies’ founder director, community action leader, musician). Malcolm led the WRT campaign with John Gibbins between 2012 to 2015 and is now responsible for media and publicity; waterfront.

Annie Leech, Trustee: (senior policy director in central government and NGO executive).  Annie is the Deputy Project Leader with specific responsibility for fund raising and business planning

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Sam Simpson, Trustee. (Commercial director.) Sam is responsible for education and schools coordination; theatrical initiatives


Andrew FitzGerald, is Treasurer of the Trust:(FCA MBA, founder of technology companies). Andrew is responsible for administration, finance and overall strategy

Mike Sutton, Executive Team Member



Clare Perkins, Executive Team Member and Coordinator for events on the John Gibbins Gallery




Nancy Clay, Executive Team Member and Coordinator for Friends of the Longshed


Mel Poole, Executive Team Member

Assets and finances

The freeholds of Whisstocks Place, the Longshed and the museum were transferred to Woodbridge Town Council by Investec Bank. The Town Council, in turn, leased the museum building to Woodbridge Museum Trust and the Longshed to Woodbridge Riverside Trust on long leases.

The use of the open space for public access and events was an essential part of the Trust’s campaign, and is controlled by covenants or easements that apply through the terms of the tenancy or freehold ownership of all the buildings on the Whisstocks site.

These commitments are embodied in the Section 106 legal agreement allowing the development, and form part of the lease for every lessee on the site, ensuring that all the residents and retailers on the site fully understand the use to which the public spaces are to be put.

The foreshore of the waterfront is owned by The Crown Estate, and a lease will be granted by the Crown to the Woodbridge Town Council. This will ensure that the Trust and Town Council can control access to the waterfront both to be able to safeguard the ambience for everyone, and more specifically to ensure the maritime heritage boats can be on display.


The Trust is dependent on donations, grants, sponsorship and income from events and activities.  We raised over £90,000 to cover the capital cost of fitting out the Longshed building and substantial sums to cover the costs of discrete projects including The King’s River (2015-2017) and the current skiff-building project.   We are very grateful to the many organisations and individuals that have supported us financially.

We have no debt to service, and no employment costs as all of us currently in the Trust are unpaid. But as leaseholder for the Longshed, Woodbridge Riverside Trust must pay recurring costs so that planned projects and events can go ahead. We have set up Friends of the Longshed schemes for individuals and for businesses who support our activities through regular donations.

All new projects and activities in the Longshed will need to secure funding to cover their costs as well as making a contribution towards the overheads that WRT has to meet as leaseholder.

As a charity, we will pay between 20% and nothing for business rates, and will get additional contribution from the Government gift aid scheme for every donation.

We have two legal entities:

  • Woodbridge Riverside Trust, a company limited by guarantee
  • The Whisstocks Project CIC, a community interest company limited by shares.

The Trust has a constitution set up in its Memorandum of Association that has been reviewed by the Charity Commission and sets out its Objects. These objects are those set out in ‘About Us’ – see above.

The CIC has very similar objects but is less restrictive than the charity: it can do things that the charity can’t, such as selling Christmas cards to support the charity. It can’t make profits that are distributed but it can pay directors.

Both these organisations have to report annually in the form of accounts and statements of how they have met their objects. Annual accounts and Directors can be seen on the Companies House web site.

Each of these companies has shareholders who are entitled to vote Directors in or out. Their liability is limited to a maximum of £1 in the case of the Trust, or amount subscribed – £10 in this case – in the case of the CIC.

Why we have both:

We started with the hope that we might buy the entire site and needed a vehicle to run several commercial enterprises under a paid manager. A CIC was perfect for this. As the development continued, with provision of the site substantially at no cost, it became clear that income would come entirely from donations and grants hence the need for a registered charity.

The CIC is still in place because it allows activities that support the charity but that are unrelated to the tightly controlled charity activities.


All the trustees commit that they have no monetary interest in any part of the development of the site and Nunn’s Mill.

All have completed declarations to this effect and have undergone due diligence as to their suitability.

The Trust policies

The Trust has to have clear policies to guide it, its volunteers, employees and partners, even contractors.

Where we are

Tidemill Way
IP12 1FP

Contact us at: info@woodbridgeriversidetrust.org

People we will miss ...