Sir Peter, whose second term as chair was due to run until the end of March 2021, has made the decision for reasons related to his medical condition – last year he revealed he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
"Sir Peter has been an outstanding chair, bringing warmth, good humour and a genuine passion and insight for the UK’s heritage."
- Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Sir Peter said: “It has been an immense pleasure and privilege to serve as chair of The National Lottery Heritage Fund and to visit projects in every corner of the United Kingdom. Time and again, I have seen how the money raised from National Lottery ticket sales is an overwhelming force for good, changing people’s lives and making communities better places to live.
“At a time when the nation’s identity is at the centre of public debate, the work of The National Lottery Heritage Fund has never been more important, giving new life to the ties of history that bind us all together.
“I have taken this decision entirely for personal reasons related to my Parkinson’s. While I would greatly have preferred to serve my full term, this is a good time to hand the reins on to a new Chair. We are at the end of a series of significant changes to the organisation, which have prepared it for the new challenges it faces. More devolved, more efficient, more flexible in its funding, the organisation has been transformed with a new corporate plan, new funding framework, new structure, new identity and new governance arrangements.
“All this has been made possible by the excellent relationships we enjoy with our partner organisations, a strong and effective board of trustees and a highly motivated staff, ably led by our Chief Executive, who has steered The National Lottery Heritage Fund through this period of change with confidence and clarity.”
Saving heritage for the nation
Sir Peter was appointed by the Prime Minister as Chair of the Board that runs both the National Heritage Memorial Fund and The National Lottery Heritage Fund for a term of three years from 30 March 2015. He was appointed for a second term in March 2018.
During his time as Chair he has championed a renewed emphasis on inclusion to The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s work, in particular ensuring that young people and the socially excluded are able to explore, celebrate and engage with the heritage that matters to them.
Sir Peter has also overseen a period when The National Lottery Heritage Fund increased its commitment to the UK’s natural heritage, funding some hugely significant nature projects including Back from the Brink, which aims to save 20 species from extinction and improve the prospects of a further 200.
He has taken a particular interest in projects that celebrate the UK’s national scientific and engineering success and champion the need to inspire a new generation of engineers, such as the Medicine Galleries at the Science Museum, opening later this year, and the story of radio astronomy in the First Light project at Jodrell Bank.
As Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Sir Peter has helped save for the nation some of the UK’s genuinely iconic heritage, including Sir Edward Landseer’s Monarch of the Glen.
An outstanding chair
Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Sir Peter has been an outstanding chair, bringing warmth, good humour and a genuine passion and insight for the UK’s heritage. He has presided over some of some of the most ambitious and far-reaching projects we have funded in our 25-year history, including Cornwall’s new archive at Kresen Kernow in Redruth, the renaissance of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, the opening of the Piece Hall in Halifax and the V&A Dundee as well as more than 2,000 projects marking the centenary of the First World War.
“I am particularly grateful to Sir Peter for his support during a time of significant change for The National Lottery Heritage Fund, helping us to become more focused, more devolved and more efficient, and setting us up for the next 25 years of distributing money from The National Lottery.”
Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said: "I would like to thank Sir Peter Luff for his hard work at the helm of The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the last four years. The projects he has overseen during his time there, including Jodrell Bank, Kick the Dust and Changing Lives have been pivotal in harnessing the power of heritage to improve people’s lives and communities across the country."
Sir Peter will stand down as Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and The National Lottery Heritage Fund with effect from the end of this calendar year, 31 December 2019.
The Fund will be making transitional arrangements, while the search for Sir Peter’s successor is conducted. This appointment is made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies.