A Place on the Board: Rick Wills of the British Postal Museum & Archive

Wills has experience of visitor attractions, which should come in useful on the board

Rick Wills
Rick Wills

Rick Wills became chair of trustees in August with a big task ahead: setting up the Postal Museum and Mail Rail.

In the next 18 to 24 months, the charity will move its archive spanning five centuries of postal history to a new museum near the Mount Pleasant sorting office in London. Mail Rail, an underground railway that carried the post between Mount Pleasant, Whitechapel and Paddington between 1927 and 2003, will eventually re-open as a tourist ride.

Wills is used to visitor attractions – he spent eight years as chairman of the BA London Eye Company. "It's quite nice when the requirements of the job match so closely with the experience of an individual, and this is the case with this job, which is about creating a new business," he says. "It's a construction project, it's also about working with big corporations and it's in the heritage sector."

His commercial career includes fronting companies in the service industry, such as British Airways and Thomson Travel, and he believes it is important to bring business disciplines from the private sector to charities. He used to be on the board of the Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts and is currently a trustee of Alexandra Palace and the National Trust as well as the BPMA.

"I could be on National Trust duty for two or three days anywhere in the country during one week, then in the next week I could be working from home for two days," he says. "So the situation needs to be very flexible."

To people considering being trustees, he says: "Do it as young as you can, make sure your commercial experience meets the needs of the charity that you wish to work for and, obviously, be passionate about the cause."

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