Sarah, The Duchess of York
Sarah Margaret Ferguson was born in London, England. The second daughter of Major Ronald Ivor Ferguson and Susan Barrantes. Sarah had a privileged English upbringing, attending private boarding school and becoming an accomplished horseback rider. Her father worked as manager of the Prince of Wales’ polo team, so Sarah was acquainted with members of the Royal Family from a young age. After graduating from secretarial college, Sarah worked for a public relations firm, an art gallery and a publishing company. In 1986, Sarah married Prince Andrew, The Duke of York and divorced in 1996. They remain the “happiest” divorced couple in the world. Their children, Princess Beatrice of York and Princess Eugenie of York, are respectively seventh and eighth in the line of succession to the thrones of 16 British independent states.
Dame Mary Perkins, Specsavers co-founder
A qualified and registered optometrist for more than 45 years, Mary plays an active role in the Specsavers business in a number of areas including driving customer service standards, championing its values and shaping its corporate responsibility (CR) commitments. She is also very involved in a number of national and local charities and was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2007.
Patron: Bradley Walsh, TV presenter
My filming schedule usually precludes me from being an active supporter of many charities but, when I was invited to be the new patron of the British Citizen Awards and heard about the brilliant work they do honouring the nation’s unsung heroes, how could I refuse?
Championing the work that these amazing people do for others is a great honour and I only hope I can do them justice. Just reading about the contribution that today’s recipients have made to our society is truly humbling.
I wish them all the very best in their many divergent endeavours – continue to light up the world with your selflessness. – Bradley Walsh
Entrepreneur and television presenter Hilary Devey CBE is the multi-award-winning Chairman and CEO of Pall-Ex Group. Known for her support of community initiatives and her appearances on television in programmes including Dragons’ Den and The Secret Millionaire, Hilary has frequently been recognised for her tireless and on-going contribution to the transport industry and to charity, and was awarded a CBE in 2013. Vice-President of Carers Trust and a Patron of the Stroke Association, Hilary and her international Pall-Ex network have raised and donated many hundreds of thousands of pounds to a wide range of good causes.