Margaret first went hostelling in the Lake District as a girl guide, aged 13. That laid the foundations for a lifetime love of mountains and hillwalking, enhanced by conversations and shared experiences with others staying in the hostel network around the UK and, later in life, in New Zealand. With her husband, a school teacher, she regularly took her own children hostelling and introduced groups of young people to hostelling and the outdoors.
Margaret studied geography at university, then went on to become a social worker, a manager in the voluntary sector and a university professional. This diversity of roles, combined with involvement in a range of local community organisations, was underpinned by a commitment to creating opportunities for young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds – in education and in relation to their health, wellbeing and life skills more widely. Her career progressed to director-level roles, both in national children’s charities and higher education, bringing experience in strategic leadership and the full range of organisational responsibilities.
Following her retirement from full-time work, Margaret became a trustee of YHA in 2016, attracted by the opportunity to combine her professional experience with her lifetime passion, to support and guide an organisation which had done so much to shape her own life as a young person, and which continues to offer life-changing experiences for young people today. Margaret was elected as Vice Chair in 2017 and as Chair in 2019. She feels privileged to lead a highly professional organisation and national charity which is also exceptionally friendly and committed to becoming ever more inclusive and accessible. Alongside contributing her professional experience from a long and varied career, and her life experience as a parent and grandparent, she continues to learn from her talented and able colleagues and finds this both stimulating and enriching.