Skip to main content

Councillor Sandra Walmsley was elected to the office of Mayor of Bury on Wednesday 24 May 2023.

The mayor’s consort will be her partner James Bentley, and her mayoress will be her mother Gillian Hargreaves.

The Reverend Elizabeth Binns will serve as the mayor’s chaplain.

Councillor Walmsley has lived in Bury for more than 37 years, where she was educated at Radcliffe Hall Primary, the Derby High School and Holy Cross College.

She was elected as a Labour councillor in Moorside in 2010 and has served the ward ever since. She has held many senior roles in the council, including being a cabinet member for community safety, housing and resources, and the chair of licensing. She has also served on the Greater Manchester Fire Authority and the Greater Manchester Housing Commission.

The Mayor worked as a senior trade union official for the Communication Workers Union for more than 18 years and was based at the O2 contact centre in Bury. Following redundancy, she returned to study as a mature student at the University of Salford, where she graduated with a first-class Honours degree in Criminology and Sociology. She is now working towards a postgraduate masters degree in Criminology at the University of Manchester.

The Mayor is also a governor at Chesham Primary School, and she volunteers her time with local food banks and community groups.

The Mayor, Sandra Walmsley
I am honoured to become the new Mayor of Bury and look forward to working with local community groups, charities, organisations and businesses to showcase the very best our borough has to offer. I hope to open up the Mayor's Parlour to as many people as possible through the year and look forward to raising funds for local charities including Bury Samaritans, Early Break and the Smith-Magenis Syndrome Foundation.
The Worshipful the Mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, Councillor Sandra Walmsley

The position of Mayor

The Mayor is the borough's First Citizen.

The Office of Mayor is the highest honour the Council can bestow upon a Member and reflects a high level of public service and the esteem, respect and regard in which the holders are held.

The Mayor holds a position of precedence over all persons within the borough, except in the direct presence of His Majesty The King, Members of the Royal Family or His Majesty's Lord Lieutenant.

The role and duties of the Mayor, which are undertaken on behalf of the borough are varied and cover many aspects, but include:

  • acting as an ambassador for the borough
  • upholding civic pride
  • promoting the borough
  • encouraging and supporting local industry, business and commerce
  • supporting local charities and community groups
  • representing the Council at civic, social, cultural, charitable, religious or faith and many other wide ranging functions and events
  • chairing Council meetings
  • receiving official visitors.

Attendance of the Mayor and the Consort or Mayoress at functions

Enquiries are frequently received regarding the procedure to be adopted at functions which the Mayor and Consort (or Mayoress) are attending. With a view to enabling suitable arrangements to be made, the following information may be of assistance:


The correct description for the purpose of printing is 'The Worshipful the Mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, Councillor Sandra Walmsley' and when the Consort (or Mayoress) is also present 'The Worshipful the Mayor and Consort (or Mayoress) of the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, Councillor Sandra Walmsley and Mr James Bentley (or Mrs Gillian Hargreaves)'.

Method of address

Speakers should refer to the Mayor as 'Madam Mayor' and Consort as 'Consort' and Mayoress as 'Mayoress'.


The Mayor and the Consort (or Mayoress) should be met immediately upon arrival and escorted, as soon as convenient, to the places reserved for them. If the Mayor and/or the Consort (or Mayoress) are asked to take part in a reception prior to the commencement of the function, then the organisers should vary the arrival time accordingly.


The Mayor shall have precedence over all persons within the borough except in the presence of His Majesty The King or a Representative of His Majesty. Accordingly, the place reserved for the Mayor should be on the immediate right of the Chair or other person presiding. The Consort (or Mayoress) should be seated on the immediate right of the Mayor or on the left of the Chair or person presiding.

When the Consort (or Mayoress) is attending unaccompanied by the Mayor, his/her seat should be in the position as indicated for the Mayor.

If the Mayor and/or the Consort (or Mayoress) are to be asked to speak at any function, particulars should be furnished in advance.

The Mayoral Charity Appeal

During their term of office the Mayor, Consort and Mayoress have Bury Samaritans, Early Break and the Smith-Magenis Syndrome Foundation as the main beneficiaries of the Mayoral Charity Appeal.

Throughout the mayoral year fundraising events will be held and all the proceeds from these occasions will be donated to charitable causes.

If you wish to donate to the Mayor's Charity fund you can donate online.

Invite the Mayor to an event

The Mayor welcomes invitations from local organisations to attend events held within the borough or related to Bury.

The Mayor will endeavour to attend all events to which she is invited, but unfortunately, due to the high demand, this may not be possible.

A minimum of two weeks' notice of invitations to attend events is requested.