Dr Doug and Dame Mary Perkins DBE

HONORARY DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF SCIENCE

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Doug and Mary met while studying optometry at Cardiff University. On completion of their degrees, they bought the small practice owned by Dame Mary’s father in Bristol.

They proceeded to build up a chain of 23 outlets called Bebbington and Perkins and, in 1980,sold it to a company that was bought by Dollond and Aitchison for £2 million.

In 1984 they opened the first branch of Specsavers in Guernsey. It was a new business model for the industry, with a unique joint venture partnership with the opticians in each store. There are now 2,500 partners.

Specsavers is now the world’s largest private optician chain, selling more than 19 million pairs of glasses and 400 million contact lenses each year from nearly 2,000 stores in 10 countries. It is a champion of the National Health Service –of its 17.3m customers in the UK, 60% are from the NHS and the company is the largest provider of free NHS digital hearing aids.

Mary was appointed a Dame by the Queen in 2007 for services to business and the community and she is an active supporter of a wide range of charities in the UK. She plays an active role in the business in a number of areas including driving customer service standards, championing values and shaping corporate responsibility.

Mary serves on the board of many local institutions and voluntary organisations, is a Freeman of the City of London and an Ambassador for Vision Aid Overseas, Sightsavers and Action aid. She is also Patron of Kidscape and of Everywoman.

Doug led the expansion of Specsavers into Australia, opening 100 stores in 100 days. Doug is a leading figure in optometry and audiology, a man with vision, a revolutionary. Now focusing on the advancement of professionalism and healthcare within the sector, fully addressing an ageing population and the associated healthcare issues, including diabetes, glaucoma, cataract and age-related macular degeneration. Doug has completed 10 years’ service as a member of the General Optical Council’s company committee.

Specsavers has raised more than £5m, across the world for charities and good causes. These include Guide Dogs for the Blind, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and eyesight and hearing charities in the other countries in which they operate. The company has been involved with Vision Aid Overseas and Sound Seekers on charitable projects in South Africa.

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