Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Mary Berry is made a dame

Mary Berry is made a dame

MARY BERRY has become a dame in the Queen’s birthday honours.

The cook, writer and television presenter, who lives in Henley, was honoured for services to the culinary arts, broadcasting and charity.

The 85-year-old was made a CBE for services to culinary arts eight years ago.

Dame Mary, who lives with her husband Paul Hunnings, said: “I am absolutely overwhelmed to receive this very great honour.

“For most of my life, I have been lucky enough to follow my passion to teach cookery through books and the media.

“I just wish my parents and brothers were here to share my joy as my only achievement at school was just one O-level — in cookery, of course. However, I am sure they are looking down and smiling.

“I will celebrate with my husband and family very soon.”

Dame Mary, originally from Bath, has published more than 70 cookery books, the first in 1970. In 2009, she was awarded the Guild of Food Writers Lifetime Achievement Award.

She was a judge on the Great British Bake Off for six years until it moved from the BBC to Channel 4 in 2016.

Since then, she has hosted many of her own cookery shows on the BBC, including Mary Berry’s Simple Comforts and Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourties. She has also been a judge on Britain’s Best Home Cook. In 2016, she became president of the National Garden Scheme in which private gardens are open to the public on selected dates to raise money for good causes.

Dame Mary was one of the highlights of last year’s Henley Literary Festival, when she gave a talk at Phyllis Court Club, and she was due to be a guest judge at the Binfield Heath Flower Show this year but the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She was a guest host on an episode of the BBC’s Countryfile in August, which showcased her passion for local produce and she visited the Nettlebed Creamery, English Farm, near Nuffield, and Bosley Patch in Henley.

Meanwhile, Fran and Will Perrin, from Watlington, both received OBEs in the honours. The husband and wife were honoured for services to charity and technology and internet safety respectively.

The couple have lived in the area full-time for the last 18 months, although they have had their house for about 10 years.

Mrs Perrin, 42, is the daughter of Lord David Sainsbury, whose great-grandfather founded the supermarket chain in 1869.

She is a philanthropist and the founder of the Indigo Trust, which is part of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts and is a grant-making foundation.

She said: “I was shocked and still am to be honest. I think we both reacted with stunned surprise and huge excitement to share it with each other.

“I feel very, very lucky, not just to have this honour but that I was able to do the work in the first place.

“Being a grant-maker is one of the most wonderful privileges and it is incredibly rewarding work. Particularly through this difficult year, being able to help frontline charities who are really doing heroic work is an honour.”

During the pandemic, the Indigo Trust provided grants worth £1 million to the National Emergencies Trust, £1 million to the Trussell Trust food bank network and £500,000 to the Oxfordshire Community Foundation.

Mrs Perrin is also the founder and director of 360Giving, a charity which aims to empower other organisations to donate by providing standardised data.

She said: “The community foundation does a fantastic job in getting money to lots of local charities very quickly, which really helped them to survive and support people using their services.

“It also connects to 360Giving, which helps organisations like them to share information about their grants.

“It is part of a move we’ve been making to make the grant-making sector more open and collaborative in its work.” The Indigo Trust was established in 1999 and Mrs Perrin was named philanthropist of the year in 2012 by Spears magazine.

In 2016, she received the Open Data Institute’s first women in data award for her role with 360Giving.

Mr Perrin, 49, is a trustee of the Indigo Trust and 360Giving.

He has also been working with the Good Things Foundation to improve access and understanding of the internet. He is also a trustee of the Carnegie UK Trust, which aims to improve wellbeing.

Mr Perrin said: “I’ve been working for many years to make sure the benefits of these new technologies are available to as many people as possible in the UK, regardless of their educational or financial status.

“We benefit as a society the more people have access to the internet and by giving them the right skills.”

Mr Perrin is also a trustee of the Philanthropy Workshop, a network of global leaders working to resolve social issues.

He added: “We’ve devoted ourselves over the last 10 years — and in Fran’s case much more – to a type of public service and to make Britain a fairer and better society.

“It is that work that drives us. The honour is a wonderful thing but it is the satisfaction of delivering all of this work that really motivates us.“

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