Margaret Bradley was born on 29 September 1944 and brought up in Cowcaddens, Glasgow as one of a family of five children. She attended Garnethill Convent of Mercy Senior Secondary School from 1956 to 1960. After leaving school, she moved, aged 17, to the United States of America to work as a nanny, but soon returned to Glasgow, where she held a series of jobs including a clerical role in the Accounts Department at Glasgow Corporation, a post as a bank teller, and another as a cashier and bookkeeper. She also volunteered for several charities, including two that were particularly close to her heart: the Scottish Spina Bifida Association, for which she served as Honorary Secretary and Treasurer, and the Coeliac Society, for which she acted as Treasurer. One of Margaret's family members suffered from Spina Bifida, while she herself had Coeliac disease and tried to raise awareness of the condition at a time when it was relatively little known.
In the early 1970s, Margaret returned to education, taking a course in law accounting at Central College, Glasgow, which she passed in November 1971. She followed this by attending evening classes at the Glasgow High School Further Education Centre to gain the Scottish Certificate of Education (SCE) qualifications required for admission to university. In 1974, she sat and passed the SCE Ordinary Grade examination in Modern Studies, along with the SCE Higher Grade examinations in English and Geography; in 1975, she sat and passed the SCE Higher Grade examinations in Modern Studies, History and Accounting, and the SCE Ordinary Grade examination in French. In 1975, Margaret was accepted to study accountancy as a full-time, mature student at the University of Strathclyde. She graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Accountancy in 1979 and went on to a successful career in finance, ending her working life as head of finance for North Glasgow Housing Association. She married Cheng Eng Oo in 1985, but the couple divorced in 2005 and had no children.
Margaret had a lifelong love of travel, which retirement gave her the freedom to pursue. Both intrepid and resourceful, she delighted in exploring different countries all over the world. She also enjoyed ballroom dancing and had an appreciation for fine art, collecting modern abstract oil paintings, studio pottery and oriental artwork. She died, aged 78, in 2023.