New Boss for Mercy Ships UK

The board of Mercy Ships UK has announced today the appointment of Lea Milligan as its next Executive Director.

Lea Milligan is to join Mercy Ships UK on 1st July 2016, following the retirement of Judy Polkinhorn who has led the charity from strength to strength for over a decade.

Lea is currently Chief Operating Officer at City Gateway and has 10 years of experience working in the charity sector, developing custodial and community projects that supported some of the most disadvantaged in society through education, resettlement and targeted family support.

He is a passionate communicator and hopes to use this and his experience as a senior leader to take up the new challenge as Executive Director of Mercy Ships UK.

Lea Milligan said: “Over the last 20 years, global poverty has halved. More than 1 billion people have moved out of economic poverty and this is in no small part thanks to NGO’s and charities like Mercy Ships, who take up the challenge of transforming lives and giving people a second chance. But there is still so much to be done. If we are to see these trends continue we must redouble our efforts. I’m proud to be joining such a passionate team of staff and volunteers from around the world who bring hope and healing to thousands of individuals every year.”

Judy Polkinhorn joined Mercy Ships UK in 2004 and has provided exemplary leadership, taking the charity from modest beginnings to becoming the most significant Mercy Ships’ contributor of funds and volunteers, outside the US.

She said: “The past 12 years have been some of the most interesting, challenging, and fulfilling of my working life. In that time, it has been my joy to see our floating hospital, the Africa Mercy, launched from the UK, and to work with the most amazing volunteers. But most of all, the privilege remains of having seen lives very definitely changed through our work in so many countries.”

Commenting on the appointment, Mercy Ships UK Chairman Henry Clarke added: “As Mercy Ships looks to build greater capacity to serve the sick, poor and needy, Lea’s experience and passion will help to build on the success already achieved and enable Mercy Ships to play its full part in bringing hope and transforming the lives of many who await the arrival of this unique hospital ship in their nation.

“Judy has been an excellent leader for the past 12 years and we wish her well in her much deserved retirement, especially her on-going ministry within the Anglican church.”