Voluntary Sector Support

Mary-Liz Walker grew up in South Dublin and moved to Greater Manchester 38 years ago.  She and her husband continue to live in Worsley, a district of the City of Salford where her husband has his roots.

Following a daily commute to work in Leeds for a number of years, Mary-Liz graduated in Horticulture (RHS Wisley), Garden Design (Reaseheath).  She has now retired from her successful garden design and construction business.

Mary-Liz was appointed as a Magistrate to the Salford bench in 1997.  She was elected Bench Chair of the merged Manchester and Salford Bench from 2013-2016.  In 2016 she was elected Bench Chairman for the new Greater Manchester Bench with responsibility for the leadership and pastoral care of almost 1,000 Magistrates, the largest bench in England and Wales.  In 2017, following her tenure as Bench Chairman, she was appointed to the GM Advisory Committee, the panel responsible for Magistrate recruitment.

In February 2023 she was appointed to the Booth Charities’ Board of Trustees.  Joining the Trustee board for the J T Blair charity in 2017, she was appointed Chair of Trustees in 2020.   Mary-Liz supports Young Lives vs Cancer as Chair of the Friends of Jack’s House, a ‘Home from Home’ for children and young people undergoing daily treatment for cancer in Manchester.  She is also Secretary to the Manchester & District Hospital Choirs Committee, now in its 50th year organising fundraising Christmas concerts at the Bridgewater Hall to support Young Lives vs Cancer’s vital work in Manchester.

A chorister at Salford Cathedral for some 30 years, Mary-Liz is also a volunteer coordinator for Cathedral safeguarding.  She is jointly responsible for working with new and existing volunteers to ensure their engagement with and completion of the safer recruitment protocols for their roles.

In 2017 Mary-Liz was honoured to be appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester.

County History

Much of Greater Manchester’s heritage is related to textile manufacturing and the towns that grew up to support this sector as a result of the boom in textile processing during the Industrial Revolution. In fact, by 1835, Manchester was seen as the first and greatest industrial city in the world and the largest market place for cotton goods, whilst towns such as Bolton, Bury and Oldham played a central economic role in the nation by becoming amongst some of the most productive mill towns in the world.

However, during the 19th century the cotton industry experienced a decline due to the Lancashire Cotton famine brought about by the American Civil War.  This decline was exacerbated in the 20th century primarily as a result of the post-war economic depression.

Today, Greater Manchester is the economic centre of the North West with the largest economy in the UK outside London. The county spans some 500 square miles with a population of 2.87 million and borders Cheshire, Derbyshire, West Yorkshire, Lancashire and Merseyside. The county has ten metropolitan districts, namely Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan and the cities of Manchester and Salford. The overwhelming land use is high density urban conurbations, although there are also a number of delightful rural and semi rural locations.

In 1974, the county had a two-tier system of local government whereby District Councils shared power with the Greater Manchester County Council. However, the County Council was abolished in 1986 and the Districts effectively became unitary authority areas with the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) coordinating certain of their activities. This continues today, but in partnership the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) which was established in 2011 as the strategic countywide authority taking on functions and responsibilities for economic development, regeneration and transport.


Greater Manchester High Sheriff’s Police Trust

Greater Manchester Police

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service

Families and Babies Charity

Kidscape Anti-bullying Charity

The Friends of Jack’s House supporting Young Lives vs Cancer:  www.younglivesvscancer.org.uk/what-we-do/a-free-place-to-stay/jacks-house-manchester/
J T Blair’s Charity:  www.jtblairscharity.org.uk