The Trust

We are here to ensure Skylark IX and her story live on through our conservation work and public activities. The Skylark IX Recovery Trust is a small not-for-profit charitable organisation led by a passionate team of Board members and committed volunteers and staff.

The organisation is hosted and supported by Alternatives, a community based drug recovery project, and we are closely aligned to their aims, meeting the needs of their service users. We also have a remit to engage with the wider community across West Dunbartonshire and beyond.

Our Vision:

To restore and preserve Skylark IX and the values it embodies.

Our Values:

We believe in the:

  • innate power of the individual to effect change in themselves and their communities
  • dignity of self-worth and the need for mutual respect and understanding
  • importance of second opportunities in all aspects and at all stages of life
  • significance of confidence in individuals and communities


The Trustees

  • Mary Burch BEM, Chair

    After leaving HMRC, I started a counselling practice and began volunteering with Dumbarton Area Council on Alcohol (DACA) and the performing arts charity Industry Minds. My involvement with Skylark IX began with the Remembrance Association. In 2010, we made the annual Remembrance sail, stopping as always to pay our tributes. It was therefore a huge shock to be notified just a few days later that Skylark was underwater. With the threat of being broken up hanging over her, the Remembrance Association started a campaign to rescue her. It was a joy a year or so later to be approached by Alternatives to give consideration to forming a Trust and so The Skylark IX Recovery Trust was formed. I am incredibly proud to have been a part of Skylark’s story and her ongoing journey. Read more of Mary's story.

  • Elizabeth Campbell, Secretary

    I was born and brought up in Dumbarton and am presently the Principal Teacher at a local primary school.  I have been a Trustee of the Skylark IX Recovery Trust since late 2017 and became the Secretary in 2019. My involvement came about after a chance meeting with Mary Burch, Chair of the Skylark Trust. She suggested I joined from an education perspective. In my role as a Principal Teacher, I have taught major events of World War 2 to many Primary 7 classes over the years. The events at Dunkirk have always been a part of that and it just seemed the perfect project to become involved in. I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of this incredible journey and am proud to work alongside such a passionate and dedicated team.

  • Laura Penny

    I was born in Cornwall but have lived in Dumbarton since the age of one year old. My career has been in education and at present, I am the Head Teacher of a local primary school. I first became involved with the Skylark IX Recovery Trust through our school's involvement with the annual Remembrance ceremony in Alexandria and the links with local veterans. Our local area has a very rich history and the Skylark IX Recovery Trust is an important part of the story of our area and its people.

  • Paul Hamilton

    I am a Teacher of History and Legal Studies at Clydebank High School, an Associate Tutor at the School of Education (University of Glasgow) and a doctoral researcher (University of Strathclyde). I was appointed to the Board of Trustees at Skylark during 2018 and since then I have been been an active member, most notably through my continued involvement and support of initiatives related to education, children and young people.

  • Andy Cochrane

    I am Service Co-ordinator at Alternative’s residential recovery unit, Safe as Houses. I've worked with Alternatives since 2006 and been involved with the Skylark project since the SOS call. The history and recovery of Skylark really struck a chord with our community work and we could see parallels with our recovery story. To fundraise, we set up the 'Spirit Team' based on the famous Dunkirk spirit and set the team increasingly difficult annual challenges which they bravely accepted and completed. Their determination and hard work led to a national award from the Marsh Trust. I had the great honour of being Chair of the Trust for two years and continue to be amazed at the support, dedication and enthusiasm of staff and volunteers. Skylark's story lives on and I am proud to be involved in the exciting times ahead.

  • Anne Dyer, Adviser

    Skylark came into my life as part of my work at Alternatives Recovery Project where I am Depute Manager. At that time she was under water at Loch Lomond and in such a sorry state. I happened to be scanning the local paper and saw a cry for help. Some local people who knew her history had raised an SOS to see if a community project could help and our charity responded to this cry for help on the off chance we could be of some use. We soon gathered steam with like-minded people and set off on a mission to save and make good use of this precious Dunkirk Little Ship. How blessed we were to have this historic ship right here on our doorstep, and as I reflect back, I can relate to her life in terms of troubled waters. Read more of Anne's story.