Meet the team

Annabelle Thorpe - Heritage Open Days Manager (interim)

Heritage Open Days and I are old friends – I’ve been with the team, on and off, since 2012.  So it’s wonderful to be steering the festival through its 25th year, celebrating all that we have achieved since the very first HODs in 1994.  Alongside my (part-time role) here, I’m an author and journalist, so the thousands of stories that make this such a unique event have a huge appeal for me.

Laura Davey - Press and Communications Officer

I’m so excited to be working with Heritage Open Days as part of the communications team, as exploring historic places and discovering hidden architectural gems has always been a passion of mine. My role is to help boost press and media coverage – I’m on a mission to make sure as many people know about this fantastic festival as possible!

Sarah Holloway - Operations Officer
I’ve been working on Heritage Open Days since 2007, initially as the Registration Officer processing all the fascinating entries. Now, I’m responsible for the database, blog and the day to day operations but I still do lots of processing and love the fantastic geographic overview it gives us of some quirky heritage hotspots! I’m also at the end of the phone or email for any queries, big or small, so do give me a shout if you need anything.

Andrew Henderson - Visitor Experience Officer

I am very excited to be part of Heritage Open Days! Before joining the team, I worked at the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Catalhoyuk (Turkey) and Memphis (Egypt) designing both the physical and digital aspects of the visitor experience. This included everything from signage, bins and benches to social media, videos and websites. I love the diversity that Heritage Open Days offers and really look forward to working with you all to create experiences that your visitors never forget!

Alex McCann - Assistant Business Support Coordinator

I have been part of the HODs team for over a year, and am looking forward to the hugely exciting times ahead of the 2019 festival. I support the operational delivery of the festival, and am usually on the other end of the phone to organisers and visitors. I look forward finding new and exciting events, and exploring the diversity that Heritage Open Days has to offer.

Matt Emmett - Photographer

When a friend looking for some photography pointers took me to an abandoned jet engine testing establishment, I was drawn into a world of fascinating locations. Six years later I’m still taking pictures of the historic built environment and now work with heritage organisations and local councils. I am thrilled to be working with Heritage Open Days. Getting people to engage with our amazing history sits in perfect alignment with my own goals and I look forward to bringing visual stories of the UK's incredible history and heritage into people's homes. You can see more of my work on my website and Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Catherine Allen - Volunteer

I’m so excited to be volunteering with Heritage Open Days this year! I’m in the last few months of my History degree, and now I can’t wait to get involved in helping to prepare for the festival’s 25th anniversary, as well as discovering more about our country’s heritage.

Eleri Thomas - Volunteer

I’m so excited to have joined Heritage Open Days as a volunteer to help with the 2019 festival! I’m in my final year of studying English and Film Studies at Royal Holloway University, which is where I learnt about Heritage Open Days. I’ve been involved with small events and festivals for a number of years, so I’m really looking forward to expanding on this experience by helping with a festival which has such a big impact nationwide.

Chloe Hicks - Social Media Assistant (Volunteer)

I am thrilled to be joining the HODs team this year and am looking forward to learning more about using media in a professional environment as well as learning about the heritage of the country simultaneously. Studying Film and Digital Productions as well as running the social media for my university football team I am keen to take my interest and knowledge of film production and photography to diversify the social media and enjoy the creative challenge this new role brings with it!

Darcy Rae - Social Media Assistant (Volunteer)

I am delighted to be a new addition to the Heritage Open Days team as a Social Media Assistant. I'm currently completing my Master's in History at Royal Holloway University, and I can't wait to start promoting the festival and getting the public just as excited as we are! 

Ben Orna-Ornstein - Volunteer

I am delighted to have joined the Heritage Open Days team in order to help support them ahead of the 2019 Festival. I look forward to getting stuck in any way I can to help the events run smoothly and create fulfilling experiences across the country while injecting pride into local communities.

Annie Reilly - Manager (away on secondment)

I have long been a Heritage Open Days enthusiast, having first stumbled upon the festival the day after I arrived from the USA eleven years ago. Before joining HODs in 2017, I worked at Nuffield Southampton Theatres as Producer, managing a team to deliver a wide range of productions as well as programming incoming shows. I am now responsible for the national direction, strategy and delivery of our festival. It’s truly a joy - and fascinating! - to work with the thousands of extraordinary people who make Heritage Open Days happen across the country.