Magna welcomes new trustees

Matthew Ridsdale - Kathryn Boulton-Pratt

Magna Science Adventure Centre has strengthened its board of trustees following the appointment of experienced science teacher Kathryn Boulton-Pratt and public relations specialist Matthew Ridsdale.

In their new roles, Kathryn and Matthew will work alongside Magna’s existing board of trustees on a voluntarily basis to oversee the growth and development of the popular tourist attraction, which is set to open its doors on 29th May for the first time since South Yorkshire entered into Tier 3 lockdown restrictions last November.

Award-winning science teacher Kathryn has worked as a chemistry teacher in schools across South Yorkshire for more than 30 years, most recently as Assistant Head (Academic) at Sheffield High School. With a passion for inspiring and encouraging girls to develop careers within science and engineering, Kathryn is hoping to bring new ideas to the attraction, in a bid to inspire more young people to share her passion for science. Throughout her career, Kathryn has won numerous awards for her work, and in 2020, as part of Sheffield’s International Women’s Day celebrations, she was presented with the Helen Sharman Prize for Science in recognition of her efforts to encourage girls to forge future careers in science and engineering,.

Matthew launched Rotherham-based public relations consultancy Cannon PR in 2011 and has worked as a PR professional for more than 20 years. He is one of just a small number of public relations professionals operating within Yorkshire to become a Chartered PR Practitioner, awarded in recognition of his commitment to adopting and delivering best practice. In 2014, he was awarded the title Outstanding Freelance PR Consultant by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, the first and indeed only time the prestigious award has been presented to a South Yorkshire-based PR professional. Since that time, he has overseen the growth and development of the business and today oversees a small team of equally dedicated PR professionals.

Kathryn Boulton-Pratt said:

“Throughout my teaching career, I’ve loved helping to inspire children through the possibilities offered through science. Magna is an attraction packed with potential and one which has already helped to inspire and shape enquiring young minds.

“I see Magna very much as a sleeping giant, which is packed with potential, and I’m looking forward to working with the Trust to help them explore fresh ideas, which I hope will encourage an increased number of young people to find out more about how science helps to shape and influence the world we live in.”

Matthew Ridsdale said:

“Magna is a building that holds special memories for many different people, and I decided to join the board of trustees to use my professional expertise to contribute towards the future success of the Trust.

“I’m particularly excited about the challenges posed by helping the centre to recover from the impact of Covid-19 and once again, help Magna to encourage visitors to the centre, whether that’s families looking for something to do during the summer holidays, to visitors of the popular events the centre hosts. Magna is a building that helps to put Rotherham on the map, for the right reasons, and I’m looking forward to playing my part in helping to write the next chapter in Magna’s long history.”

Kevin Tomlinson, Chief Executive, Magna Trust said:

“Kathryn and Matthew both bring with them a wealth of knowledge and expertise from their respective fields, and I’m confident their skills will help to make a positive contribution towards the future success of Magna.

“I’m very much looking forward to working alongside them in the future as we set our sights upon welcoming back visitors, schools and exhibitors for what promises to be an exciting 12 months for the centre. During lockdown we’ve spent time renovating some of the attractions and we’re now concentrating upon welcoming visitors back to the centre, when we re-open our doors on 29th May.”