North West Regional Advisory Board

The main purpose of our regional advisory board is to connect people and communities with the local canals and rivers here in the North West region.

North West Region, Manchester and the Rochdale Canal North West Region, Manchester and the Rochdale Canal

Upcoming meetings

Search minutes of our past meetings

Our boards give local people:

  • a voice in developing and improving their waterways
  • a chance to connect with their waterside communities
  • an opportunity to help guide our decisions and strategies
  • the ability to support and champion the waterways in this region

Meet our regional advisory board members

Walter Menzies, Chair

The former Chief Executive at the Mersey Basin Campaign and a UK Sustainable Development Commissioner, Walter remains a sustainable development advocate and champion of the North West. He is a Visiting Professor in the department of civic design at the University of Liverpool, a Trustee of the Land Trust and former Chair of the Manchester, Pennine & Potteries Waterway Partnership.  Walter will be supporting the transition of this region for 12 months.

Tayo Adebowale

Director of Cirkadia, and environmental consultant, with a PhD in water quality/management. Tayo has over 20 years experience in governance, including 9 years as a national non-exec director within the public sector; she  is currently a Board Member of the North West Environment Agency Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, and a branch member of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management.

Mike Carter

Mike has worked in, operated and owned boat repair businesses with full boatyard facilities. In 1998 he switched to a career as a marine surveyor. Mike’s childhood was spent either living afloat or in a canalside cottage. Mike owns, or has an interest in, several historic narrowboats and barges, including a commercial grain barges operation. Throughout the year Mike and his young family can be found leisure boating around the canal and river system operated by the Trust.

Kate Cousens

Kate has over 18 years experience leading corporate communications and public relations across the public and private sectors. Most recently she was Director of Communications for Eddie Stobart and early 2018 started her own business as a freelance Communications Consultant, known as The Comms Coach. Kate’s passion is helping businesses to improve how they engage with their different stakeholders.

Sue Cawson

Sue trained as a graphic designer and specialised in publishing, and has worked for several major Educational Publishers before finally working for Heinemann. She is very passionate about canals and believes that by becoming a Regional Advisory Board member she will have the opportunity to get more involved and contribute. Sue is a member of the Trust’s Navigation Advisory Group and Navigation Advisor for HNBC.

Mary Gibby

Mary Gibby is a conservation biologist, fern enthusiast and a boater. She was a research botanist at the Natural History Museum in London and Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and has been active in conservation projects in partnership with conservation agencies and NGOs. She has been involved with canals since the 1970s and can regularly be seen boating the canal network on her historic narrow boat.

John Hatton

John has been a canoeist and user of Britain's waterways all his life. He worked in Local Government for nearly 30 years running a multi-service Leisure and Community Services Department. More recently he has undertaken an interim role as General Manager of Canoe Wales and is now acting in a consultancy role on behalf of British Canoeing.  He has recently become a Director of a Community Benefit Society in the Sport and Leisure industry which employs some 250 staff. John aims to bring his experience of interagency partnership working, experience of the waterways and project management to the organization.

Mike Macklin

Mike is an experienced boater on the UK waterways. Mike was previously general manager of K Shoes in Kendal and vice president of Wolverine World Wide in the USA. He boats on the Lancaster Canal and is very involved in the Regional Board’s project to improve the canal as well as having been involved in the restoration proposals for the Northern Reaches.

Nick Mead

Nick has been involved with canals for over forty years, holidaying and for the last ten years running his hotel boat across the northern system for 6 months of the year. Working in a wide variety of industries around the globe, Nick gained his MBA in 2004 and became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management. He has managed large teams across many countries, planned and executed large scale strategic change, including implementing and managing significant global outsourcing contracts. With advisory roles at the YMCA and non-executive roles, Nick applies his experience to solving strategic issues for other businesses.

Joe Parkin

Joe is a keen recreational white water paddler and adventurer. While not out in the wild Joe is earning a living as a structural engineer in a small consultancy firm in Bolton. He is also involved at regional level with British Canoeing, supporting paddlers in the North West through improving facilities on offer to paddlers, number and quality of access to bodies of water and improving communications between different individual clubs and centres of the enjoyment of the individual. As a coach and leader he assists with his local club, Bury Canoe and Kayak Club, to engage and encourage more people to pick up a paddle and get the boating bug like he has.

Gerry Proctor MBE

Gerry was born in Liverpool, educated at St Mary’s College, Crosby and Ushaw College, University of Durham (BAHons Theology). He worked in St Helens, particularly with young people, from 1977-1985 when he volunteered for work in Ecuador and Bolivia with deprived communities for 6 years. He returned to Liverpool to work in the Dovecot and Knotty Ash neighbourhoods of the city from 1991-2003 when he moved into an apartment on the site of the former Herculaneum Dock. He is Chair of Engage Liverpool CIC which he helped to found with other residents and they work to improve the quality of life and sustainability of city centre living. Gerry received an MPhil and an MBE in 2013.

Julie Roberts-Joyce

Julie is a qualified teacher, specialism History, and has taught in 11-18 schools in both urban and rural settings in the Northwest. After completing the NPQH, she continued to work in education as the Lead Assessor for Inclusive Education in Cheshire East. She is a school Governor. Julie is a trustee of North West Academies Trust, a multi academies trust providing world class education in the primary and free school sector.  As an intrinsic part of our heritage the canals and waterways are enjoyed in a variety of different ways and inspire a passion for heritage. 

Peter Rowlinson

Peter has a long history of involvement with the canals in the North West of England. As a qualified town planner and deputy director of planning and regeneration for Wigan Council, and director of planning and economy at Rochdale, he was proactively involved in regeneration schemes around waterways. He is now a trustee of two other charities, the director of a community centre, has his own planning and heritage consultancy and on a voluntary basis leads on a number of high-profile heritage initiatives close to the canal network.

Nicola Said

Nicola is head of campaigns for tourism board, Marketing Cheshire. She works with Cheshire’s key tourism businesses to shape the destination campaigns. Nicola has worked in tourism in Cheshire for over 10 years, first starting her career focusing on rural tourism recovery after the Foot and Mouth outbreak and 9/11, when the importance of tourism to the Cheshire economy was first really realised. 

Keith Sexton

Former director of environment, health and safety for the Amey Group. Previously chair of environmental partnership of the City of Birmingham where he was elected as regional West Midlands "Green Leader", Keith has a first degree in engineering and a masters degree in environmental management.

Audrey Smith OBE

Audrey is an experienced boater with great knowledge of the Leeds and Liverpool canal as well as the Lancaster canal.  She has previously been chair of the IWA, a member of IWAAC and chair of IWA enterprises and was made OBE in recognition of her work for the inland waterways. Audrey’s professional background is in education. She has been a member of the Canal and River Trust’s North West Partnership since 2011.  Audrey has long advocated the widest possible use of the waterway corridor and currently chairs the Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership.  

Nigel Stevens

Nigel Stevens and his wife operate a hire fleet and boatyard with moorings at Sowerby Bridge. He is a member of the Navigation Advisory Group. Nigel was a Waterway Recovery Group organiser, and Chairman of London IWA, in the early seventies, and later campaigned for the restoration of the Rochdale. He is a past chairman of the British Waterways Advisory Forum and APCO (now British Marine Inland Boating), and a former elected member of the Trust’s Council. Nigel was previously a member of the Manchester, Pennine & Potteries Waterway Partnership and was a member of the Partnership which restored the warehouses at Sowerby Bridge.  He was a former elected member of the Trust's Council representing Boating Business.

Jon Stopp

Social entrepreneur, business mentor, NCVO member, former trustee Citizens Advice and Cuerden Valley park operations board, current Lancashire countryside ranger, Sustrans ranger and, Woodland Trust champion.

Iain Taylor

Partnerships Director, The Peel Group. Chair North West Regional Forestry Framework, Director Manchester Ship Canal Developments Ltd. Trustee of Groundwork West Lancashire, Cheshire and Merseyside and Community Forest Trust. Director Manchester Ship Canal Developments Ltd.

Ruth Wojtan

Ruth Wojtan has over 20 years experience working in policy and partnership development, funding and programme management at both EU and local levels. She currently works for Cheshire West and Chester Council and recently was responsible for the development of Chester's Waterways Strategy which has led to the development of a series of new canal-side improvements including two new parks. Ruth is keen to continue advocating the benefits of the waterways.

Last date edited: 18 September 2018