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Tony Hales CBE Completes Term as Chair of the Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College


Tue 27 Jun 23

Tony Hales CBE steps down as Chair of the Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College in July 2023. He would have completed nine years with the Foundation having started in 2014. 

Over the nine years, Tony Hales has made an outstanding contribution to the Foundation, helping to make the Old Royal Naval College one of UK’s leading visitor attractions providing a diverse, cultural and educational space, welcoming visitors from near and far.  

A key achievement was his support and guidance as the Greenwich Foundation delivered an £8.5 million award-winning and pioneering conservation project between 2016-2019, which saw the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College restored to its full glory. In his role as chair and with his oversight – from planning, fundraising and execution – the project won numerous prestigious awards and within the first year the visitor offer was recognised as one of the top tourist attractions in the country, winning the Gold Award for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year category at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2020. 

In May 2019, as part of the reopening of the Painted Hall, Tony had the pleasure of hosting HRH The Princess Royal as the Principal guest of honour at a very special Gala Dinner. Her Royal Highness was present to help celebrate and preside over the spectacular proceeding of the night. Her attendance epitomised the historic connection between the Royal family, the Royal Navy and this magnificent site by the River Thames – a history spanning over five centuries. 

Tony Hales CBE and HRH The Princess Royal at the Painted Hall reopening.

His energy and passion have helped sustain work to conserve the site notably with a major addition to improve the Nelson Room to tell the story of Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson and his relationship with Greenwich. The major project transformed the unique architecture of this intimate room has been carefully conserved. Its imposing roof lantern, monumental stonework and Swedish marble flooring has been restored to its former glory. The experience also gives the visitor an insight into the room itself, its history, restoration, and the artworks on display. A newly introduced audio-visual experience explores the story of this national figure and looks at how people react when a much-loved celebrity dies. 

Tony has been instrumental in developing our relationship with American Friends of the Old Royal Naval College, patrons who have supported us and allowed us to do important conservation work around the site. Two recent projects were in the Chapel of St Peter & St Paul, the conservation of Benjamin West’s epic painting and the Chapel Lift project that improved access for disabled people: combining conservation excellence with modern design. 

Tony will continue to support The Greenwich Deptford and Rotherhithe Sea Cadet Unit, based in T.S. Dreadnought within the grounds of the historic Old Royal Naval College, as their Unit President. The Sea Cadet Unit, which was recently upgraded, continues the Naval involvement with the site and works with young people aged 10 to 18, helping them to develop into resilient, confident young people.  

Tony is currently Chair of The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and NAAFI Pension Trustees, a director of British Forces Broadcasting Services and Trustee of the Royal Museums Greenwich Foundation. He was previously Chief Executive of Allied Domecq, Chair of NAAFI, British Waterways, Canal and River Trust, and Workspace plc and a non-exec director of Aston Villa, Welsh National Opera and HSBC Bank. 

He was awarded a CBE for services to the armed forces in 2008.