Prof Walter Menzies – an inspirational leader in the environmental world has died

The NWBLT is saddened to hear of the death of Walter Menzies (age 69) who worked for many years as chief executive of the Mersey Basin Campaign. He was an inspiration to many people and engaged with different communities across the region raising the profile of the importance of sustainability to the North West.

The NWBLT first worked with Walter in 1983 when he was the the founding executive director of the second Groundwork Trust to be established in the UK, in Macclesfield, becoming regional director for the North West.

NWBLT was one of the founding partners of Sustainability Northwest and recruited Walter to be its chief executive in 1997. Then in 2001 he took over Mersey Basin Campaign. The campaign was dedicated to sustainable economic development through the improvement of waters, the regeneration of watersides and community involvement in those processes, and was considered complete in 2010.

During this time, between 2000 and 2005, Menzies was one of the first commissioners in the New Labour Government’s Sustainable Development Commission.

In more recent years he had served as a trustee of the Land Trust, was a visiting professor at the University of Liverpool’s School of Environmental Sciences and chaired the Manchester & Pennine Waterways Partnership. He was also a keen photographer and often could be seen with his camera taking shots of interesting urban environments.

Katie Bray, Head of Projects & Events at NWBLT, said “I have known Walter since his days at Groundwork North West. I worked on many events and projects with him over the years and he was always inspiring and had a great sense of humour. We worked on the North West Business Environment Awards together and he was delighted to win the Lifetime Achievement Award back in 2010 presented by Jonathan Porrit (see below). He made work genuinely fun and I always looked forward to organising events with him – he will be really sadly missed across the North West.”

Emma Degg, CEO at the NWBLT, added “The North West has lost a giant this week. Walter was a man of integrity, intelligence and purpose. A great pricker of pomposity, he was also generous with his time and laugh out loud funny. We better make sure the principles he believed in are his lasting legacy. “