Gemma Paterson

Gemma Paterson


Gemma took up the role of Director in September 2014 after more than six years working at HWDT. Starting out as Education Assistant in April 2008, Gemma graduated to the role of Education Officer and was also working in fundraising before taking maternity leave in 2013.

Prior to working with the Trust, Gemma gained an MSc in Ecology at the University of Aberdeen where her studies focused on cetacean ecology and she was employed in the south of England in the field of marine environmental education. She has more recently completed her PGCE in secondary science at the University of Leicester.

The Director post is generously funded by The John Ellerman Foundation.

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Alison Lomax

Alison Lomax

Deputy Director and Education Officer

Alison joined the Trust in September 2015 as HWDT's Deputy Director and Education Officer. Alison has a degree in Marine and Freshwater Biology from the University of Essex and previously worked in marketing and project management.

During a volunteer placement with WDC in 2010 she encountered her first wild dolphin (and loved it!); inspiring her passion for whale and dolphin conservation and a career change. Since then she has worked as Education Officer for ORCA, starting up the charities first community-based education project in the North East of England and as Conservation Officer for WDC based in the Moray Firth. Her interests include wild swimming, diving, wildlife watching and hiking.

The Deputy Director post is generously funded by The John Ellerman Foundation.
The Education Officer post is generously funded by The Robertson Trust and The Ernest Cook Trust.

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Conor Ryan

Conor Ryan

Sightings and Strandings Officer

Conor joined the HWDT team in June 2014 to expand the community sightings network as part of the Sea Change project. Previously, he worked as a researcher for the Song of the Whale team and as Science Officer for the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. Conor graduated from University College Cork in 2009 with a degree in zoology, before completing a PhD on the feeding ecology of baleen whales in Irish waters at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. Conor is a council member of the European Cetacean Society. His interests include whale-watching, surfing, sea-kayaking, and free-diving.

Conor's post is generously funded by the Coastal Communities Fund.

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Frazer Coomber

Frazer Coomber

Marine Biodiversity Officer

Frazer began working for the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust in January 2016. In the past he has worked on several whale watching and scientific research boats around the world. His main research interests are the effects of anthropogenic impacts on marine life. Most recently he studied the impacts of maritime traffic noise pollution on Cuvier’s beaked whales in the Mediterranean as part of his PhD course at the University of Genoa. Previous to this he studied at the University of Bangor, Wales where he learnt ecological habitat modelling techniques using harbour porpoise sightings in Cardigan Bay. Besides his interest in marine mammals Frazer is also a keen climber, outdoor and water sports enthusiast.

Frazer's post is generously funded by Scottish Natural Heritage.

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Morven Russell

Morven Russell

Volunteer Coordinator & Marketing Officer

Morven works on a part time basis as HWDT's Volunteer Coordinator and Marketing Officer.  As well as completing various marketing and admin tasks, Morven recruits and manages both land and boat based volunteers.  She is also responsible for keeping in touch with supporters.     

In 2006 Morven gained a BSc in Environmental Management and Technology from Heriot Watt University.  She has also worked with local marine wildlife operators Sea Life Surveys.

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Philippa Garrard

Education Officer

Pippa graduated from the University of Leeds in 2014 with a BSc in Human Physiology (International). She joined the HWDT team in the summer of 2014 to support the education and outreach programmes. Prior to this position Pippa volunteered in South Africa, Australia and Bali, where she was involved in a number of marine conservation projects, including sea turtle rehabilitation, as well as monitoring manta ray populations in Indonesia. Another of her passions is diving and after qualifying as a PADI Divemaster in 2013, she is keen to explore the waters off Scotland.

The Education Officer post is generously funded by The Robertson Trust and The Ernest Cook Trust.

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Vivi Bolin

Vivi Bolin

Visitor Centre Manager

Vivi first came to the Trust as Sightings and Strandings Intern and has now rejoined the team as Visitor Centre manager after a summer at sea as a wildlife guide for Hebrides Cruises. Vivi has a MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation from Trinity College Dublin and, prior to joining HWDT, has been working for several organisations, including the Zoological Society of London, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and BirdWatch Ireland. Vivi’s passion for the sea and conservation stems from growing up on the Baltic Sea coast in Finland. After graduating with a BSc in Environmental Biology from Helsinki University, she made the move to Ireland, where she has assisted in humpback whale research and conducted surveys on sea birds and cetaceans.

The Visitor Centre Manager post is generously funded by the Coastal Communities Fund.

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Pauline Massey

Shop Manager

Pauline joined HWDT in 2014 working as a seasonal assistant in the shop and visitor centre. She took over the management role in the summer of 2015. As a long-term supporter of environmental charities, with a keen interest in the natural world, Pauline has taken a change of direction from education to join HWDT. She is currently studying an honours degree with the Open University to complement her work with the Trust.

The Visitor Centre Manager post is generously funded by the Coastal Communities Fund.

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Edward Hewett

Edd Hewett


After qualifying as a Yachtmaster in 2009, Edd took an opportunity to sail on Song of the Whale, observing his first whale in 2010 and later qualifying as an instructor. After a period skippering on yacht deliveries, he went on to work with St Andrews University and the expedition yacht Pelagic Australis in the Southern Ocean in 2012. During this time he visited a number of exciting places, but decided to go back to Song of the Whale after finding he missed the research aspect of the work. Edd’s jobs and hobbies have taken him all over the world, often under sail; he has sailed about 70,000nm! In 2014 Edd worked on board Silurian for the first time and recently completed his WiSe Scheme skipper’s course. Edd will be the main skipper on Silurian in 2015. When Edd is not at sea he is normally working on boat maintenance or on holiday either scuba diving, surfing, rock climbing, snowboarding or mountaineering.

Karen Denoon

Finance Officer