About Us

What we do

The Gibraltar Heritage Trust is an independent statutory body entrusted with the preservation of Gibraltar’s heritage and aims to work in partnership with all like-minded bodies, both locally and internationally.

The Trust is responsible to the people of Gibraltar for the preservation and enhancement of all aspects of Gibraltar’s heritage, which includes promoting all aspects of Gibraltar’s heritage culturally, educationally and touristically. It works closely with the Government of Gibraltar and the private sector in fulfilling its aims.

We operate on a not for profit basis. Since 2008 we have received an annual grant from the Government of Gibraltar to help cover staff salaries and basic admin costs. Funds for all of the Trust’s projects are raised by the Trust through our annual membership drive, our commercial activities or through specific project targeted fundraising. All funds generated are applied to achieving the aims and objectives of the Trust.

Restoration works at O'Hara's Battery & Restored Nun's Well

School Workshop: 'How to Incorporate Heritage in the Classroom' & Illustration Workshop: 'Lest We Forget'

We believe that Gibraltar’s rich heritage is one of its greatest assets and it is imperative that it is preserved and managed in a sustainable way to continue to benefit future generations.

Who we are

The Board of Trustees

The Trust is governed by a Board of 12 Trustees, all of whom serve in their voluntary capacities. Trustees serve on the Board for a period of three years, during which time they contribute to the running of the Trust and the advancement of its aims. Under the Gibraltar Heritage Trust Act, 1989, the Board is comprised of 5 Government appointed Trustees and 7 elected Trustees from within the membership of the Trust. In the case of elected Trustees, any member can go forward for election to the Board as long as they obtain two nominations from other existing members. Election normally takes place at the Trust’s AGM, held in the month of November. Meet our Team below:

Mr. Ian Balestrino, GA, Chairman

Ian Balestrino was born in June 1951 and was educated at the Gibraltar Grammar School. He is married and has three children and seven grandchildren. He studied Marine Engineering in Plymouth, Devon, U.K. and worked in different areas of engineering both locally and abroad. He joined the Trust as a Family Member in the 1980s and proudly has membership number 31. He was appointed a Trustee in 2012, Vice Chairman from 2014 to 2016, and Chairman from 2016 to 2020. He is currently serving a second tenure as Chairman. Although interested in all aspects of Gibraltar’s heritage, he has a special interest in military history. He considers it important to preserve our heritage; 'This is what defines us as a people. Collectively it defines our history, culture, and customs. Each and everyone of us has a connection with our past. It could be an event, a family member, an artefact, an heirloom, a recipe, or a myriad of other things. All of these have an individual special meaning that must be preserved for the benefit of future generations. It is your heritage - a legacy that must be protected, valued, and understood.'

Dr. Keith Farrell, MBE, Vice Chairman

Dr. Keith Farrell is a retired ENT surgeon from Gibraltar and has been an active member of the Gibraltar Heritage Trust since 2010. Dr. Farrell has always had a general interest in Gibraltar’s cultural and natural history, and since becoming a Trustee in 2010, he has been very actively involved with the Trust, having had two terms as Chairman and now three as Vice Chairman. Dr. Farrell enjoys the challenges that heritage conservation presents here in Gibraltar, but he has noted the uphill struggle caused by the pressure for new development in recent years. On a personal note, he is very pleased to be able to contribute to Gibraltar’s heritage agenda with senior colleagues in the Trust and has been given the opportunity to lead on the Witham’s Cemetery Restoration Project which has been supported by many devoted volunteers since works began in 2016. In 2023, Dr. Farrell was awarded an MBE for services to heritage in The King’s Birthday Honours. He hopes to continue to contribute to the good work of the Trust for a few more years yet.

Ms. Alice Mascarenhas, MBE (GoG Appointed)

Alice Mascarenhas is a journalist and broadcaster who began her professional career as a radio announcer on Radio Gibraltar in 1977. Appointed Senior Presenter (Community Affairs) in 1985 during the 1980s and 90s she also worked in the news team at GBC Television producing and presenting a variety of local programmes. Involved in amateur dramatics, in 1994 she took a different career path and graduated as a Stage Manager from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Returning to Gibraltar she joined the Gibraltar Chronicle as its Features Editor in 1997, becoming its first female Deputy Editor in 2015. In 2017 she was presented with the Cancer Research Flame of Hope Award in the UK as Media Supporter of the Year. In June 2019 she was awarded an MBE, for her services to Media, Culture and the Arts in Gibraltar in The Queen’s Birthday Honours, and is also the recipient of the Gibraltar Medallion of Distinction. Since her retirement in 2018 she continues to be involved in journalism and broadcasting writing a weekly column in The Gibraltar Chronicle - Alice’s Table - now the subject of five books, and a book on local playwright Elio Cruz, 'One Man, Many Talents'. Her show 'Centre Stage' on Radio Gibraltar, has been on air for over 25 years. Alice was appointed a Trustee by the Government in 2020. Today she presents and produces the Gibraltar Heritage Trust Podcast.

Ms. Yvette Zarb (GoG Appointed)

Yvette Zarb has always had an enthusiasm for the arts. In her youth she trained in ballet and modern stage dance.  She joined the Civil Service in 1977 as a Clerical Officer and was posted to the Income Tax Office. At the age of 21 she was promoted to Executive Officer and moved to the Tourist Office where she stayed for the next 27 years and was promoted to Senior Executive Officer. She was also the PA to the Mayor and oversaw the running of corporate entertainment for the Chief Minister’s official guests, gaining extensive experience in the organisation of events, such as ‘Freedom of the City’. In August 2010, she was seconded to the Ministry of Culture where she worked her way up to the role of Chief Culture Officer in the Gibraltar Culture & Heritage Agency. In 2014 she became Chief Executive of GCS, until her retirement in January 2018, setting up galleries including the Mario Finlayson National Art Gallery, and was instrumental in bringing back the Gibraltar Drama Festival and digitisation of the John Mackintosh Hall Library. She is also a Certified Accounting Technician and a Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians. In a personal capacity, she was a founder member of the Gibraltar Philharmonic Society and also been involved with local production companies, pageants, musicals & variety shows. She was a member of HMS Calpe, the local Royal Naval Reserve unit, from 1979 to 1993 where she learned to value the experience and insight into the forces, its history, and traditions that this position offered. Her service in such capacities made her an ideal candidate for the board and she was appointed Trustee by Government in 2020. In her spare time, Yvette paints, draws, plays three musical instruments and is an avid reader. She now acts as a non-executive director of GCS and enjoys going to the theatre, ballet, and the opera when she has a chance, as well as visiting art museums and galleries.

Ms. Lyana Armstrong-Emery (GoG Appointed)

Lyana Armstrong-Emery is a former politician in Gibraltar who stood as a candidate for the GNP in the 1992 and 1996 General Elections of Gibraltar. On 14th April 1999 she resigned from the Liberal Party and continued as an Independent Liberal until 22nd March 2000 when she launched a new party the Independent Liberal Forum. On 24th July 2003 the Party changed its name to the Reform Party which she continued to lead until its dissolution in 2005. In the 2004 European elections, she became the first and only Gibraltarian candidate to stand in the southwest region of England. She stood for the Green Party. She stood once again in 2014 for the Liberal  Democrats. She was born in Kenya to an English father and a Gibraltarian mother. Her family moved from Kenya and from the age of three she lived in Rio de Janeiro, Puerto Rico, and Lima, Peru until she went to university in the UK. It was as a teen in San Juan, Puerto Rico that her interest in Heritage became apparent. She worked in the Tourism Industry for over 42 years, retiring in 2012. The same year she was appointed a Government Trustee. As the 2023/24 President of the Rotary Club of Gibraltar and in collaboration with four Rotary Clubs: San Isidro, Peru, Alabama, Mobile and Fairport, the USA are funding a project headed by Dr Kevin Lane, Gibraltarian archaeologist for the renewal, rehabilitation, and conservation of ancient Inca dams for the benefit of several small communities in the Andes. Her particular interest in this project comes from having lived and gone to school in Peru and reflects her passion for heritage.

Mr. John Navas

John Navas was born in August 1947 and was educated within the local secondary and technical schools. He worked for the Government of Gibraltar in the Architectural/Structural Drawing Office from 1968, and worked alongside renowned local historian G.L.Palao, who inspired his interest in local history. In 1992 he took over the project management of all the Government schools and Government offices. John was an officer within the ranks of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment taking on the responsibilities of 2i/c of “B” Company and later as the Press Officer for the Regiment covering the conferment of the Royal title and the first Queens Guard at Buckingham Palace. He was co-opted as a Trustee in March 2015, with special interest on Regimental, military and local history, the conservation of local architecture especially on the importance of so many of our old buildings within our city, and he wants to ensure that these sites are maintained and listed within the Heritage & Antiquities Act including our historical fortification walls and other fortifications around Gibraltar.

Mr. Francis Silva

Francis Silva currently works as a supervisor in the Gibraltar Fire & Rescue Service emergency control room. He was first elected as a Trustee in November 2016. He studied Social Sciences with the Open University and undertook courses in Medieval and Modern History. It was here that he discovered a passion for historical research. He has spent many days researching in the National Archives in Gibraltar (GNA) and in the UK and has contributed various articles to the Gibraltar Heritage Trust Journal. He is the author of Red Ship and Red Tape, which was published in 2021(translated into Spanish in 2022). He has given many talks and tours for the Trust, the History Society, and has been a guest speaker at the University of Gibraltar. He is currently researching and writing his next book on the developmental history of rifled artillery during the Victorian Era. Francis is interested in Gibraltar’s military history and its heritage value. He is an ardent proponent of safeguarding Gibraltar’s historical fortifications and its military installations, believing that educating on our past informs us on our present, social and cultural history. He is also a firm believer in safeguarding and maintaining our numerous historical sites and believes we should encourage historical tourism in Gibraltar as a means of investing the revenue back into maintaining our sites.

Mr. Alfred Sacaramento (GoG Appointed)

Alfred Sacramento was appointed a Government Trustee in 2012. In the past nine years, he has worked tirelessly to protect our valuable heritage for other generations to come. He has also learned a lot about Gibraltar, of places which he did not know existed. He shares this responsibility with the eleven other Trustees and five members of staff.

Mr. Ray Payas

Raymond Payas was born in 1958 in Gibraltar. After attending local schools and showing strong interest in the sciences and technology he graduated from the University of Southampton with an honours degree in Electronics Engineering in 1980. He returned to Gibraltar following a job offer from the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation and married Valerie shortly after graduating. They have two children and two grandchildren. Ray worked as a Broadcast Engineer at GBC for twenty years during which time he specialized in Outside Broadcasting. He led the team that designed, built, and commissioned GBC’s first Outside Broadcast unit. In 2000 Ray decided on a career change after being offered a post within GE Americom, then setting up a satellite control centre on the Rock, achieving certification as a Spacecraft Controller within the organization. After five years, during which time GE Americom became SES-Americom, Ray was promoted to Senior Spacecraft Controller with additional duties as Training Coordinator. Ray went on to train many new controllers to achieve certification in Gibraltar, USA and more recently in Luxembourg. He retired from SES in 2017. He has been a dedicated small boat sailor since his teens, buying the Victory Class classic yacht “Odyssey” in 1982 which he extensively rebuilt and has sailed competitively for the last forty years. He has also sailed other types of sailing craft over the years, including the Laser Dinghy in which he competed in the 1997 Island Games. His other interests include Railways, Military history, and Motorsports and is a very keen traveler. His interest in local history led to his joining the Gibraltar Heritage Trust on retirement in 2018 and was co-opted as a Trustee in February 2020. He has been a regular volunteer in the refurbishment and upkeep of the once derelict Witham’s Cemetery. 

Ms. Sue Davies, OBE FSA Hon MCIfA (GoG Appointed)

Sue Davies is an archaeologist by training. Her experience, over 40 years working in the UK, North Africa and Europe, ranges from excavations and conservation management, to the development of national policy, strategy and professional standards.  As the DCEO/CEO of a cultural heritage charitable company, Sue was a Non-Executive Director of both the UK National Commission for UNESCO and of the Institute for Archaeologists.  She has a keen interest in ensuring that UNESCO’s cultural conventions, especially the World Heritage Convention, are used to attain UNESCO’s goals, in particular sustainable development.  In 2010 Sue was appointed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to chair the Expert Panel tasked with producing a new UK Tentative List of potential sites in the UK and its Overseas Territories for nomination to UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. Most recently she was part of the World Heritage Office Team at the Gibraltar National Museum. Sue has a strong commitment to promoting the contribution of heritage to wider social issues, including community wellbeing, social inclusion and the sustainable use of the historic environment as a driver of change not a barrier.  Sue has given many presentations to local groups, professional conferences and others on various topics, from specific sites to heritage conservation philosophy and the role of UNESCO.  She has published and/or edited a substantial number of articles, journals and books since 1981. Sue was awarded an OBE for services to heritage in the 2008 New Year’s Honours List. She was appointed a Government Trustee in December 2022.

Mr. Glen Banda 

Glen Banda was co-opted to the Board of Trustees in January 2023. He is a passionate individual with a strong interest in preserving our Gibraltarian heritage for generations to come. After studying Environmental Health at University, he began a professional career as an Environmental Health Officer, working to ensure the health and safety of our community. In 2012, he was appointed as the Chief Environmental Health Officer, where he continued to lead efforts to protect our environment and Heritage and promote sustainable practices. Throughout his career, he has remained committed to preserving our unique cultural identity and works tirelessly to protect our heritage.

Mr. Anthony W Pitaluga, MBE

Anthony Pitaluga was appointed Government Trustee in August 2016. His term as Trustee was cut short due to his demanding role as Head Archivist in the Gibraltar National Archives (GNA), which he retired from in March 2023. Mr. Pitaluga pioneered the first ever GNA digitisation project for the Government of Gibraltar and established an extensive outreach programme including a self-designed website and database, as well as a number of major national commemorative exhibitions. Since boyhood, he has acquired a strong interest and passion for all things heritage and for the history of Gibraltar. He holds a BSC Honours in Information Technology and Computing with Natural Sciences, awarded by the Open University and a postgraduate certificate in Archive Service, Preservation and Access, awarded by the University of Dundee. He is currently a Professional Member of the Archives & Records Association of the United Kingdom and Ireland, a member of The British Computer Society and a Graduate of The Institution of Fire Engineers UK. He was awarded an MBE for services to the History and Culture of Gibraltar, as part of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, New Year’s Honours List in 2021. He was also a member of the Gibraltar Government Heritage & Antiquities Advisory Council (HAAC), from 2018 to 2023 and held employment in the Ministry of Culture & Heritage from the beginning of 2012 to the end of 2013. He is the author of the book Nelson’s Remarks: An Interesting Find At The Gibraltar National Archives, published in 2020 and co-author of the book Dancing Under The Shadows with Ambrose Avellano, published in 2022. In the summer of 2023, he was elected to the Gibraltar Heritage Journal Editorial Board and has contributed to several Trust publications and historical articles for the Gibraltar Heritage Journal. He hopes he may continue to contribute to the GHT’s more than worthy project going forward. 


The Trust employs a Chief Executive Officer who is responsible to the Board of Trustees and oversees the day to day running of the Trust. The CEO is supported by an Executive Officer and Admin & Support Assitant. We also employ a Retail Officer within our retail and exhibition unit.

Mrs. Claire Montado, Chief Executive Officer

Claire Montado (neé Valarino) graduated from Reading University in 2000 with a degree in Archaeology. Following a Masters in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester in 2001, she was appointed Technical Officer (Archaeology & History) at the Gibraltar Museum. In 2008 she took up the role of Chief Executive Officer at the Gibraltar Heritage Trust, a statutory non-profit organisation working for the preservation and promotion of Gibraltar’s heritage and history. Her interests lie in public archaeology and education, heritage management and architectural conservation with a track record in heritage projects, exhibitions, and awareness initiatives. 

Mrs. Germaine Smart, Executive Officer

Germaine Smart has been working as Executive Officer of the Trust since 2010. Germaine manages the financial accounts and oversees the running of the day-to-day financials of our Gift & Bookshop. During her years at the Trust, she has been privileged to work closely with many heritage enthusiasts and Trustees. This experience has helped her toappreciate the importance of safeguarding the heritage of Gibraltar in all its facets. As a mother of two, Germaine strongly believes that a legacy of the real Gibraltar should remain in place for our younger generations and she is determined to help the Trust achieve this.

Miss. Rebecca Fa, Admin & Support Assistant

Rebecca Fa has been working as Admin & Support Assistant with the Trust since 2021. From a young age Rebecca has found a love for the arts, history, and culture, locally and abroad. She took taking up dance until she was 13 and enjoys drawing and creating in her spare time. After graduating with a BA Hons in History from Bath Spa University in 2020, she was recruited by the Heritage Trust to take on her current role which includes general administrative duties, event’s and tours organiser and social media supervisor. She hopes to continue learning from her colleagues as she navigates her interests in the field of heritage.  

Ms. Theresa Coffey, Shop Supervisor & Retail Officer

Theresa Coffey has been employed as Shop Supervisor with the Trust since March 2022. Since joining us, the shop has experienced a revival with a fresh look and new products including traditional children’s toys, poppy items, and new books. Theresa is an enthusiastic individual with lots of ideas and we hope she continues to share this as we grow our Gift and Bookshop.

Mrs. Wendy Pashley, Retail Officer

Wendy Pashley has been employed as Retail Officer with the Trust since 2018. Wendy has proven to be an excellent receptionist and works well with Ms. Coffey and the office to ensure the daily smooth running of our Gift and Bookshop.