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Who are we?

The Bury Business Leaders Group is collaboration between local business leaders and Team Bury (Bury's strategic partnership) to improve communication, understanding and a joint commitment to support the wider economic development of the borough.

We have been working together since April 2016 with a remit of putting business growth, innovation and entrepreneurialism at the heart of what the public sector do.

We are a group of individuals from a diverse range and size of businesses across the borough. We are supported by the elected Leader of Bury Council and the Chief Executive who represent Bury's public sector.

Our vision: "To foster a vibrant and dynamic Bury, building on our entrepreneurial culture, to enable residents to take advantage of a well-connected economy."

Details of the members of Bury Business Leaders Group

Andrew Roberts

Managing Director / Avoira Ltd.

Andrew Roberts

I left college at 17 and started work at Avoira Ltd (formerly known as Pennine) as an apprentice engineer. I continued to obtain my City & Guilds Qualifications at night school. Over the years, although I have only worked for one company, I have had roles in engineering, sales, marketing and business management. In 2003 I led a successful management buyout and became Managing Director.

I have an interest in technology and skills especially the STEM subjects.

I am a Fellow of the IET (The Institution of Engineering and Technology), Fellow of The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), Chair of Governors Bolton College, Member of Rossendale Business Leaders Forum, Bury President of Manchester Chamber of Commerce, a Primary School Governor and Trustee of Youth Work Charity which aims to improve the life chances Young People in the local area.

Eamonn O'Brien

Council Leader / Bury Council.

Cllrr O'Brien

Councillor Eamonn O’Brien was appointed leader of Bury Council in May 2020, the youngest leader in the history of the Council and has represented the St Mary’s Ward in Prestwich since 2014. He is a regional member peer for the Local Government Association, covering the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber.

He holds the portfolios for Technical Education and Skills and Clean Air for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, having previously held the portfolios of Digital and Children and young People.

Prior to becoming Leader, Eamoon worked at the head office of a national charity managing the office administration. He was educated at St Monica’s RC High School in Prestwich and Holy Cross College in Bury. He gained a BA (History and Politics) and MA (History) from University of Manchester. He also set up the country’s first student-led food bank in central Manchester.

Lynne Ridsdale

Chief Executive of Bury Council

Chartered Fellow of the CIPD

Lynne Ridsdale

Lynne is the Chief Executive of Bury Council and Bury’s Place Based Lead.

An HR professional by background, Lynne has led high-performing teams across the public and private sector including for the Capita Group; Bolton Council, Manchester City Council and the National Crime Agency. Lynne is also a Peer Reviewer within the Local Government Association network; in this capacity she has led independent improvement reviews of corporate services for a number of councils across the UK.

During four years in Bury so far Lynne has led the development of 2030 borough vision and community strategy – LET’S do it!; an internal digital transformation programme and comprehensive workforce reform including an inclusion strategy; values and behaviours framework and management development.

Charlotte Morris

Ward member for Elton and Cabinet Member for Culture, the Economy and Skills at Bury Council

Cllr Morris

Charlotte was first elected to Bury Council in 2019. She currently serves as Cabinet Member for Culture, the Economy and Skills where she is responsible for overseeing the development and delivery of Bury’s Economic Development Strategy. Her portfolio also includes responsibility for Bury’s cultural offering, night time economy and all-age skills.

Prior to taking on the economy brief, Charlotte was a Deputy Cabinet Member for Health between 2020 and 2021.

Outside of politics, Charlotte works in Public Affairs.

Victoria Robinson

Chief Executive, The Met 

victoria robinson

Victoria Robinson is Chief Executive of The Met, Bury’s arts centre and music venue. The Met exists to inspire excellence in music and creativity, enhance the quality of living and working in Bury and Greater Manchester by engaging communities with brilliant live experiencesThe Met hosts a number of specialist workshops for the whole of the community alongside a range of music and family events. Alongside the venue, a Grade II listed building, The Met runs a Creative Hub incorporating a Recording Studio and a number of outdoor festivals throughout the year.

Victoria has worked in music and the arts for over twenty-five years, from writing about her native North East live music scene, before leading on gig and club promotions at the legendary Leadmill in Sheffield.

Victoria was instrumental in setting up Bury’s Business Improvement District (BID), of which she is now chair. The BID supports businesses in the town centre, promoting Bury as a premier destination for the region.

In 2022 Victoria was invited to join the Greater Manchester Music Commission, led by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, developing opportunities for artists and audiences and making Manchester an international destination for music. She is also a member of the Greater Manchester Night Time Economy Task Force, and is an active member of Future Arts Centres.

Keith Fairhurst

Managing Director, Molygran

Keith Fairhurst

Molygran is a family business and is recognised as the leading polystyrene convertor in the North West.

With almost 40 years' experience converting and supplying expanded polystyrene (EPS), we are the go-to company for jobs requiring innovative design and precision tooling. We can profile cut any shape you want. As polystyrene convertors we take our responsibility for recycling and education around this very seriously; our free recycling service is extremely popular and continues to debunk the myth that polystyrene is non-recyclable. Our reputation for exceptional customer service and quality is second to none.

As managing director, I bring experiences gained in many industries. Qualifying as a chartered accountant I quickly moved into lean manufacturing; animal feeds; call centres and finally twenty years of consulting.

Lucy Clark

Director, Dream Agility

Lucy Clark

I am a Director of Dream Agility which is an award winning software company based in Ramsbottom – Dream Agility is a Google Premier Partner, in the top 3% of Google Partners Globally, offers a powerful Machine Learning Platform for e-commerce and Lead Generation businesses to optimise their online advertising and increase their revenues, our AI makes Googles AI supercharged, giving you more for less! With clients in the US, UK and Aus, we serve ads in 23 countries and multiple languages. With a plethora of technology, digital marketing, and innovation awards under our belt from around the world, the strategic partnerships we have with our clients drives our innovation. Their problems are our future technology developments.

I’ve worked part time in the business since I was 14 using my computer science skills to build inventory feeds, and full time since I was 17, choosing to work and study rather than attend university full time. I graduated my degree apprenticeship with 1st class honours and CMgr/MCMI accreditation. After many years as cogs in the background with experience in all aspects of the business, in 2018 I became a director as we scaled the business. I am a women in tech advocate and I mentor new tech startups and school students.

Phil Fellone, 

Made in Bury Limited

Phil Fellone

25+ years’ experience in the Sports Industry. A hands-on leader with global brands, Adidas and Nike, followed by 3 years as Sales Director and 7 years as Managing Director of Umbro UK.

In 2011 Phil became Managing Partner of thebestofbury (2011-2022) a Marketing and Events company in Bury, working with thousands of local Bury businesses connecting them to other businesses and to tens of thousands of local Bury people.

In 2013 Phil co-founded Made in Bury Ltd (2013 - Present) holding the position of Managing Director.

After successfully selling thebestofbury in December 2022, along with his partner, Phil is focused on Made In Bury Ltd, which consists of 3 key initiatives:

  1. The Made in Bury Business Academy – Coaching and Mentoring new startup businesses in Bury.
  2. The Made in Bury Weekly £2000 Draw - A not for profit initiative, providing Interest Free Loans for startup businesses in Bury. "Helping tomorrow's Businesses Today"

3. The Made in Bury Brunch Club - A women’s only Networking group for business owners and decision makers from a diverse range of businesses. A forum to share expertise and help influence success. Regular guest speakers, social & charity events and active fundraising for Bury Hospice

Steven Astley

GLP Law

Steven Astley

I am a Bury born and bred lawyer, with more than 20 years’ experience in legal practice. I lived and went to School and College in Bury before going to University. I am now a Partner in a law firm based in Bury. I represent clients who have suffered serious and catastrophic injury as a result of accidents, intentional assaults, regularly helping victims of violent crimes, rape and sexual abuse.

GLP Solicitors are lawyers proudly based in the heart of Bury town centre, yet providing expert legal advice to both individuals and businesses, across the country.

I am also a designated Compliance Officer and have acted as an adviser to other law firms, Insurers and businesses about Injury related compensation and have lectured across the legal profession. I use my legal, operational and managerial experience with leading national law firms for the benefit of my firm, its staff, clients and those I advise.

I have acted as an adviser to other law firms, local government, leading Insurers, major Banks and businesses, as well as having lectured across the profession on a range of topics.

I am a Football Association qualified coach and volunteer my spare time heavily in grassroots football.

Lisa Matthews

Assistant Principal, Bury College

Lisa Matthews

Bury College is an institute of further learning for ages 16 and above. We offer a rich, diverse, career-focussed curriculum that responds to the needs of our learners and employers – including A Levels, T Levels, Vocational courses, Apprenticeships, Higher Education and Adult Learning courses.

I joined Bury College 20 years ago and have seen us build relationships with local employers that have allowed us to enhance our learners’ skills, develop positive attitudes as well as gain valuable work and industry experience.

We pride ourselves on preparing our learners to contribute positively to their communities and, ultimately, to the economy by developing skills and behaviours appropriate for life and work.

We look forward to developing these relationships further, building new ones and, always, providing our learners with the best opportunities for growth and success.

Alex Fotheringham

Operations Director, MSL Solution Providers

Alex Fotheringham

Alex Fotheringham is the Operations Director at MSL Solution Providers, where he leads MSL’s experienced regulatory and laboratory teams to provide the highest level of support to its extensive client base. He is pivotal in ensuring MSL provides a dynamic service, flexible to client needs and of the highest quality.

Alex is a degree educated biologist with experience working in microbiology and the household chemical and biocide fields. He has spoken extensively at industry events on various topics including ‘Aerosol Regulation’, ‘Challenges with Preservatives’ and ‘Brexit’. He is a member of the CTPA Compliance and Regulatory Committee and The Society of Cosmetic Scientists.

Alex is proud to sit on the Bury Business Leadership Group, representing MSL Solution Providers in the community. MSL Solution Providers is a specialist in the microbiological testing and regulatory compliance of cosmetics, personal care, and disinfection products, with a customer base spanning five continents that includes raw material suppliers, manufacturers, and brand owners. Its in-house accredited labs provide a comprehensive range of standard tests, as well as tailored solutions to support clients’ individual requirements. Its capability and reliability offer organisations an integrated approach, resulting in their products getting to market quickly, cost effectively, and compliantly. Its EU & UK Regulatory services are ISO9001 accredited as well as being insurance backed and it holds UKAS Accreditation No 4045.

Chris Fletcher

Policy Director, Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Chris Fletcher

Chris is Policy Director at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. He is responsible for leading the Chamber’s policy work and campaign engagement with Chamber members, the wider GM business community and representing their views to key local bodies, organisations and decision makers. His team run the Chamber’s research and survey work including the influential Quarterly Economic Survey and are responsible for publishing the Greater Manchester Index.

In August 2022 the Chamber was named by the Department for Education as the designated body responsible for developing the GM Local Skills Improvement Plan with Chris as the project director.

He is also a trained media spokesperson and in his 20 years at the Chamber has been involved in several national pieces of policy work with British Chambers of Commerce.

Prior to joining the Chamber he spent two successful years at business education charity Young Enterprise after spending 16 years at NatWest in a variety of roles including a range of business manager positions focusing on start-ups and early stage developing growth businesses.

He has sat on and chaired a number of groups for a variety of organisations both public and private sector and has a real interest in how policy work affects economic regeneration, transport and innovation.

Angela Merotto

Thumps Up (Bury) Ltd.

Angela Merotto

I am the in-house solicitor and Company Secretary of Thumbs Up (Bury) Limited. The company, which is based in Radcliffe, is a family owned and managed business, established in 1980. Thumbs Up is now one of the biggest manufacturers and distributors of plastic housewares, garden wares and storage products in the UK.

Mike Goodier

Cheetham Hill Construction Ltd.

Mike Goodier

Established in 1966, Cheetham Hill Construction Ltd are a civil engineering contractor and plant hirer based in Bury who work throughout the country undertaking a variety of work types, including pipelines, windfarms, household waste recycling centres, public realm, highway infrastructure, land remediation and reclamation and flood defence works. Mostly as Principal Contractor on a design and build basis. We are currently on frameworks with Environment Agency, North Yorks County Council and Procure Partnerships across the North of England.

I commenced working for the company in 1999 on completion of a Civil Engineering BEng (Hons) degree and have worked my way up from Setting Out Engineer to my current position of Director. I became a member of the Bury Business Leadership Group to form links and relationships with other local companies, and to understand opportunities within the local area and to provide an insight into the difficulties faced by the construction industry.

Chris Hill

Chief Superintendent, Greater Manchester Police, Bury District

Chris Hill

Chris proudly joined Greater Manchester Police in 1994 based at Collyhurst Police Station. Since that time, he has been involved in various roles within GMP from districts to specialist posts.

His main aim is to work with partners to ensure a joint approach in protecting all our communities and as the police district commander for the borough of Bury keeping the people of Bury safe as well as those that visit and work across Bury.He has been and continues to be involved in high level events as a Gold public order commander and strategic firearms commander.

In addition to his Chief Superintendent duties, he is the strategic lead for the special constabulary across Greater Manchester, the force drone team and works closely with the National Police Air Service as the north west lead ensuring Greater Manchester has air support to protect our most vulnerable residents and ensuring our front line officers have an ‘ eye in the sky’ to take criminals and those involved in Anti-social behaviour off our streets.

Chris leads a dedicated team of police officers and police staff at Bury Police Station who are dedicated to working together to keeping Bury one of the safest places to live and visit.

Kieran Rafferty

Managing Director, Rakem Group

Kieran Rafferty

The Rakem Group are chemical distributors and toll manufacturers of specialised products for the Paper, Plastic, Coating and Construction industries. We operate from our site on Wellington St in Bury where we have been for over 25 years. We are a family business and are committed to developing our people and our local environment through innovation and community support.

I was educated at St Monica’s and then Holy Cross college in Bury and have lived in the borough all my life, apart from a stint in Leeds studying history/business management. My daughters also went to local schools and we have enjoyed seeing the town grow to become one of the most desirable places to live and work in the North West. I am often found walking on the well cared for trails or parks locally with two loveable but mischievous dogs.

Sarah Porru

Assistant Director of Regeneration (Economy & Business), Bury Council

Sarah Porru

After studying Social and Economic History at Manchester Metropolitan University, Sarah started her career with Groundwork as a Community Project Officer in Tameside, Manchester before moving to London to join Lambeth Council as a Project Manager working on an IT recycling project across Southwark, Westminster and the City of London. 

Sarah moved back home to the Northwest in 2004 and joined High Peak Borough Council where she undertook a variety of roles including Town Centre Manager, Economic Development Officer and Head of Regeneration. 

Following and alliance between High Peak Borough Council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council in 2008, Sarah managed projects and teams across a number of service areas, including housing, town centre development, business support, markets and visitor services.

Sarah joined Bury Council as Assistant Director in 2022 and leads on the delivery of the Bury Economic Development Strategy, Town Centre Plans and Business Development and Liaison.