Man behind one of region’s most popular attractions to step down

Colin Brown, chief executive of The Deep.

Colin Brown, chief executive of The Deep.

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The man behind one of one of Yorkshire’s most popular visitor attractions is stepping down.

Colin Brown will retire next April after 15 years as chief executive of The Deep aquarium in Hull.

Mr Brown, 60, together with Honorary Alderman David Gemmell conceived the project, said to be the country’s most successful commercial Millennium Project, ahead of the Eden Project in Cornwall, and which is also credited with helping trigger self-confidence in the city’s ability to transform itself.

The Deep, which opened in 2002, is the third most popular paid-for visitor attraction in the county, attracting nearly 400,000 visitors a year. With no debts and well over £2m reserves, it has ambitious plans for the future - including a new education centre. As well as being a visitor attraction, it also is a conservation charity, leading a number of captive breeding programmes and playing a key role in setting up the region’s first Marine Protection Zones. This year it recruited an expert who has added 600 endangered species to the IUCN Red List, the world’s main authority on the conservation status of species. Mr Brown said: “David Gemmell and I worked on The Deep right from the beginning. I can remember him coming into my office and saying: ‘Why don’t we get the Natural History Museum to come to Hull?’ and can equally remember going there and coming home and saying: ‘Why don’t we do a Natural History Museum of the Sea, it would make more sense’ - and that was 20 years ago.”

A successor will be appointed following a national recruitment drive before Mr Brown steps down next year.

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