Large legacy for National Marine Aquarium

The National Marine Aquarium (NMA) in Plymouth is to receive a substantial legacy from its late chairman.

David Pridden, who sadly died in November last year, has bequeathed a major sum to support the organisation’s educational work, with the only stipulation being that funds must be matched from industry, organisations or individuals.

With a long and illustrious career in the energy industry, Mr. Pridden became the inaugural chief executive of Subsea UK – the industry body for the country’s subsea sector – and was latterly chairman of Seanamic Group and a member of the Simmons Private Equity Investment Committee.

Over the years, he held a variety of senior positions in both large and small subsea oil & gas and marine renewable companies, including launching and successfully growing his own business.

Mr. Pridden was passionate about attracting young people into the subsea engineering industry and to providing education on the marine environment. In his position with the NMA, his appreciation for promoting “pro-ocean behaviour” grew and he was relentless in helping the organisation increase discovery and learning opportunities for future generations.

For every £25,000 raised, the NMA can draw down funds against Mr. Pridden’s bequest to spend on supporting the organisation’s national roll-out of its “Schools Outreach” programme.

Launched during British Science Week, the “Schools Outreach” scheme saw more than 800 schoolchildren involved in activities at the NMA, all of whom had the opportunity to try new virtual reality video programmes using new headsets.

The national roll-out has begun with the trialling of two pilot schemes -` each with its own ‘Ocean Ambassador’ – in Newcastle and Cardiff. The cost of each pilot with one employee is £50,000 and to get the scheme started this has already been fully funded by Mr. Pridden.

The NMA is seeking to recruit a second person for each office and plans are underway for additional bases around the country, and eventually into Scotland, with Aberdeen likely to be the location of the first office there.

Roger Maslin, CEO for the National Marine Aquarium, said: “David’s legacy demonstrates the affection and esteem in which he held our institution. He was passionate about the potential of the aquarium to be so much more than a visitor attraction by building on its appeal to create imaginative, valuable and relevant learning experiences for young people. We’re incredibly grateful for his generosity which will enable us to accelerate our national roll-out of the outreach programme.

“His request that match-funding is required underlines his strong belief that industry should be more involved in engaging young people, stimulating their interest in the marine environment and engineering at an early age, so that there is a sustainable pipeline of talent coming into industry. We are now actively seeking funding partners from industry to make sure we can benefit from David’s generous bequest.

“To successfully deliver the scheme, we will tweak the original model used in Plymouth so workshops are delivered effectively without the back-up of the ‘mothership’ aquarium. The aim is to have regional VR equipment packages offered for use to a network of over 100 local primary schools in outreach hubs around the country.”

Companies, industry bodies and individuals who would like to support the NMA national schools outreach initiative can contact Roger Maslin on [email protected].



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