Lancashire police employee Maureen Le Marinel has been elected president of UNISON, the first gay woman to hold this office.
Maureen, 53, who is the UNISON branch secretary, was born in Rufford, the fifth of seven siblings.
She started at the local village primary school a year early, due to the sudden death of her father.
She then attended Burscough Secondary Priory High School.
Maureen’s long-term commitment to trade unions started in 1984.
After being discharged from the Army for being gay, she took a job in Lancashire police’s control room taking 999 and non-emergency calls from the public.
After her six month review, she came out at work.
She then became a target for bullying by senior members of the force.
Union officials, made one phone call, and all the staff who were bullying her were moved.
Maureen was told she would never have to work with any of these people again.
Her experience was so positive that it inspired her to get more involved.
She soon became a steward, and her role grew as the equality laws were taking shape, and her force used her as an unofficial policy person.
She was an assistant branch secretary for ten years, and when Lancashire Police’s own branch was founded in 2006, she became its branch secretary. Maureen has been sitting on regional committees since the early 90s.
She became the police staff representative on the national police forum in 2000, and joined the NEC, the union’s highest lay body, in 2003.
Through her time on the presidential team, Maureen will be focusing on pushing the union’s agenda of fairness forward.
She said: “Throughout my life, fairness has always been key. UNISON is not a banging on the table type of union – we want to find a fair and reasonable solution that is best for everyone.
“This is a guiding principle that will take me through my presidential term, as I help the union, and public services, face head on some of the biggest challenges that we have faced in my lifetime.”
In 2006, Maureen was married in a civil partnership to Michelle, who she met at UNISON’s National Delegate Conference in 2003.
She enjoys spending time with her family, is a keen ten pin bowler and chair of the North West Reptile Club.