Dame Mary Perkins

Co-founder, Specsavers

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Dame Mary founded Specsavers in 1984 with husband Doug and has since grown the business to become the largest privately-owned optical company in the world.

Born in Bristol, Dame Mary qualified as an optometrist after attending Cardiff University, where she met Doug. Together they bought out Mary’s father’s optical business when he retired and gradually built up their family-friendly opticians in the West Country and Wales, selling up and moving to Guernsey in 1981 where the joint venture concept of Specsavers was born. The rest is history!

Dame Mary was honoured by the Queen for her services to business and the community in 2007. The same year she was named the most outstanding woman in business at the National Business Awards. She was also the first recipient of the First Women Lifetime Achievement award, in 2010.

Dame Mary supports numerous charities and is patron of everywoman and anti-bullying charity Kidscape, an ambassador for Vision Aid Overseas, Sightsavers and Action Aid, a Liveryman of Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers and Freeman of the City of London. She is also an Honorary Chartered Director of the Institute of Directors, an Honorary Fellow of Cardiff University and she has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Plymouth University.

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