Margaret Eaton has worshipped at St Chad's, Manningham for over forty years. She said today: "My faith has been important to me from a very early age and that is why accepting this role at Walsingham means a great deal to me." She added: "I am delighted to have been elected to serve as a Guardian at Walsingham and look forward to sharing fully in the life of the Shrine in whatever way I am able to do in the years ahead."
On hearing the news, Bishop Tony Robinson, the Bishop of the Society for the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales congratulated Baroness Eaton, saying, "I am absolutely delighted to hear that Baroness Eaton has been elected a Guardian of the Shrine or Our Lady of Walsingham. It is a very special place for Catholic Anglicans." Baroness Eaton joins Fr Brian Bell, Fr John Gribben CR and Richard Mantle from our diocese who currently serve as Guardians at the shrine. Bishop Tony is the Shrine’s Visitor.
Baroness Eaton is a Conservative Party life peer in the House of Lords, with a distinguished political career. She has been a Councillor with Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council since 1986 and was chair of the Local Government Association until June 2011. In recognition of her many services she was awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2003 and made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours. She was also presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws of the University of Bradford in December 2012.
During her career, Baroness Eaton has served as Leader of Conservative Group, Council Leader, chair of Bradford Local Strategic Partnership Board and Bradford Cultural Consortium, co-chair of Bradford Safer Communities Partnership, director of Bradford Centre Regeneration Company and Leeds Bradford International Airport and has been Deputy Lieutenant for West Yorkshire since 2008.
Her affiliations include appointments as chair and trustee of Near Neighbours, a national registered charity, an ambassador for the Angelus Foundation, a national registered charity for drugs education and trustee of Cottingley Town Hall in Bradford.
Master of the Guardians, the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner said today: "Baroness Eaton will bring particular skills and a great deal of wisdom to the proceedings of the Guardians and I am delighted that she has accepted our approach for her to serve the Church in this way.