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100 influential Berkshire and Buckinghamshire men

PUBLISHED: 10:24 28 September 2015 | UPDATED: 12:45 11 January 2018

Ricky Gervais. Photo: Tim Whitby/Getty Images

Ricky Gervais. Photo: Tim Whitby/Getty Images

2012 Getty Images

From royalty to local business owners, authors to sport stars, we round up 100 (ish!) of the most influential Berkshire and Buckinghamshire men

100 inspirational Berkshire and Buckinghamshire women


  


ROYALS

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh


Whether you spot him striding up the steps to the Royal Box at Windsor Horse Show, driving HM The Queen to the polo, out on an early morning carriage drive, or even simply read in the national newspapers about his latest pronouncements(!), HRH The Duke of Edinburgh definitely keeps himself busy.



Just for the record… yes, he’s now 94, the longest serving consort of a British monarch and the oldest ever male member of our Royal Family.



Locally, he’s patron of the Prince Philip Trust Fund for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, which provides grants to help community, voluntary and educational projects. He’s also a Freeman of the Royal Borough.



The duke is a president, patron or honorary member of numerous organisations, including Berkshire Golf Club, Guards Polo Club, Rotary Club of Windsor, Rotary Club of Windsor St George, Royal Ascot Ex-Servicemen’s Club, Royal Windsor Horse Show, Sunningdale Golf Club, Swinley Forest Golf Club, The Leander Club, Windsor and Eton Football Club, Windsor Cricket Club and Windsor Rugby Football Club.



But we have to finish with the fact that he’s also Patron of London-based The Eccentric Club, aiming to promote the idea of creative and original approaches to many social, historic, cultural, ethical and aesthetical issues, ‘some of which may be considered controversial by the present day media and society.’ The perfect fit!



  


The Duke of York


HRH Prince Andrew, who turned 55 this year, lives in Royal Lodge, Windsor Great Park, with his daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. He takes a keen interest in the life of the surrounding royal estate, but concentrates efforts in the fields of education and skills, science and engineering, small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurship.


So he was the perfect guest for the opening of Buckinghamshire University Technical College in Aylesbury, where he chatted to IT and construction students. Similarly, he visited Reading’s Queen Anne’s School to support Tycoon in Schools, a national business competition set up by the Peter Jones Foundation, of which he is patron.



He’s also Patron of the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel Trust at Pangbourne. Sporting patronages include Royal Ascot Golf Club and Sunningdale Ladies Golf Club, and he is an Honorary Member of Berkshire County Cricket Club.



  


The Earl of Wessex


HRH Prince Edward, 51, lives with his wife, Sophie, and two children at Bagshot Park. He has a lifelong interest in the arts and greatly enjoys his role as Patron of Windsor Festival. Prince Edward is also very active in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme, having achieved his own Gold Award back in 1986 and today attends many events, both at home and abroad.



Locally, he also chairs the Prince Philip Trust Fund for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and is an Honorary Member of the Rotary Club of Windsor and Eton.



  


Prince Michael of Kent


A cousin of both HM The Queen and Prince Philip, Prince Michael of Kent, 73, was born in the then royal family home of Coppins, Iver. He went on to attend both Sunningdale School and Eton College before entering the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Interests include road safety. He’s a keen vintage car enthusiast and as well as being president of the RAC is an Honorary Member of the Barkham and District Classic Car Club.


 

 

POLITICS

Richard Benyon


A great-great grandson of late Victorian Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, the Newbury MP is a member of a local farming and business family stretching back across the centuries. Born in Reading, he went to Bradfield College and the Royal Agricultural College before attending Sandhurst and being commissioned into the Royal Green Jackets. He and wife Zoe have two sons, and the MP has another three from his previous marriage.



  


Adam Afriye


Windsor’s MP is a self-made millionaire, from IT support and marketing, who grew up in a large single parent family on a Peckham council estate. He has a reputation for fearlessly not toeing the party line on some matters and is a supporter of Conservatives for Britain, set up to push for reform of our relationship with the EU. He and wife Tracy-Jane Newall split their time between homes in Old Windsor and London.



  


Mark Lancaster


The Milton Keynes North MP is a qualified bomb disposal officer; 27 years of military service began with the Queens Gurkha Engineers before transferral of his commission to the Territorial Army. In May this year he was appointed Under Secretary of State for Defence. Last year he married for a second time, to Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage (daughter of TV presenter Fred).



  


Dominic Grieve


Beaconsfield’s MP was first elected in 1997, served as Attorney General from 2010 until July last year, and is a member of the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee. He is married to fellow barrister Caroline Hutton and they have two sons. Hobbies include boating on the Thames at weekends.



  


David Cameron


The Prime Minister was born in London, but his family moved to Peasemore in West Berkshire soon after his birth, and he was raised at the old rectory there. He spent early school years at Heatherdown School, Wink-field. His mother, Mary, is the daughter of the late Sir William Mount, a High Sheriff of Berkshire. The PM’s great-grandfather was MP for Newbury after the First World War.



  


Steve Baker


The Wycombe MP is a former RAF engineer officer who went on to read for an MSc in computer science at Oxford and then held significant roles in both business software enterprises and investment banks. First elected in 2010, he is married to Beth, a former senior officer in the RAF medical branch. High speed hobbies include skydiving and motorcycling.



  


John Redwood


The MP for Wokingham won a free place at Kent College, which took him to Oxford University and a successful business career before entering parliament in 1987. A leading light of ‘The Thatcher Revolution’, he oversaw privatisation of the telecoms industry and held ministerial posts. These days he’s a powerful back-bench Eurosceptic and the author of books on subjects such as voter apathy, the Euro and the UK banking crisis. He is divorced, with two grown up children.



  


John Bercow


Buckingham’s MP since 1997 is Speaker of the House of Commons. Although he cannot speak in debates, he is active behind the scenes on constituency matters such as HS2, describing the project as ‘all pain and no gain’. Re-elected as Speaker earlier this year, he says he would like ‘He was the Back-Benchers’ champion’ on his ‘political tombstone’. Bercow is married to Sally, with whom he has three children.



  


Phillip Lee

Bracknell’s MP is a GP who has worked across the Thames Valley and continues this at the Urgent Care Centre in the town he represents. Born in Buckinghamshire (his father ran a small business in High Wycombe), he is a former pupil of Marlow’s Sir William Borlase Grammar School. Dr Lee is a keen sportsman, having played football and rugby union competitively. He and wife Catherine have a daughter.



  


Rob Wilson


Reading East’s MP for the past decade studied history at Reading University before building small businesses and serving as a Reading Borough councillor. He’s been a PPS to Jeremy Hunt and then Chancellor George Osborne until appointed Minister for Civil Society, a role involving charities and volunteering. He lives in the constituency with his wife Jane and their four children.



  


Iain Stewart

The Milton Keynes South MP grew up in Scotland but has lived in the city since 1993, arriving as a then trainee accountant for Coopers & Lybrand. For six years he was a member of Shenley Brook End & Tattenhoe parish council. He’s served as PPS to Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin and is a patron of LGBTory, the Conservative LGBT group.



  


Alok Sharma


Reading West’s MP grew up in Earley and Whitley Wood and went to Reading Blue Coat School in Sonning. He’s a chartered accountant who’s done everything from work on a factory production line to advising companies on corporate finance. He is a member of the Treasury Select Committee and in June was made Private Parliamentary Secretary to Oliver Letwin, who is in charge of the Cabinet Office. First elected in 2010, he lives in Caversham with wife Ingela and their two daughters.



  


In the House of Lords

• Baron Bradshaw - Lib Dem Bill Bradshaw went to Slough Grammar School and then the University of Reading. His special interest is transport.



• The Bishop of Bristol - In the 1980s, Mike Hill was a curate at St Paul’s, Slough, then priest in charge of St Leonard’s, Chesham Bois. In 1990 he became Rural Dean of Amersham and the Arch deacon of Berkshire, and later Bishop of Buckingham.



• Lord Carey of Clifton - The retired Archbishop of Canterbury lives in Newbury and is particularly attached to St George the Martyr Church, Wash Common.



• Lord Carrington - The former Foreign Secretary comes from a family associated with Buckinghamshire for more than 200 years and lives at Bledlow.


• Baron Gardiner of Kimble - John Gardiner, partner of the family farm at Kimble, Buckinghamshire, is the Lords spokesman for DEFRA. He was chairman of the Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks Hunt until 2006 and President of Buckinghamshire County Show in 2007.


• Earl Howe - Frederick Richard Penn Curzon lives at Penn and supports local charities and community endeavours including Abbeyfield Beaconsfield Society, The Chiltern Society, Milton’s Cottage in Chalfont St Giles, Marlow’s Sir William Borlase School, Penn Street Village Hall and Knotty Green Cricket Club.


• Baron King of Lothbury - Mervyn King, the former Governor of the Bank of England, was born the son of a railway porter in Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire.


• Baron Darzi - World leading surgeon Ara Warkes Darzi, officially Baron Denham, of Gerrards Cross, specialises in minimally invasive robot-assisted procedures.


• Baron Leigh of Hurley - Businessman Howard Leigh was created a Life Peer in 2013. Directorships include Blue Inc (240 UK fashions stores), Cavendish Capital Advisors and other Cavendish businesses.


• Lord Stoddart of Swindon - Former Reading Council leader David Stoddart twice stood unsuccessfully (for Labour) to be Newbury’s MP before winning the Swindon seat.


• Baron Tunnicliffe of Bracknell - Former BA pilot Denis Tunnicliffe’s career includes serving as MD of London Underground Ltd, chief executive of London Regional Transport and chairing the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.



• Baron Wei - Nat Wei, the first British-born person of Chinese origin to have become a member, was educated at the Sir Frank Markham Community School, a state comprehensive school in Milton Keynes (since closed, and replaced by the Milton Keynes Academy).


 

BUSINESS

Peter Aldis

The CEO of NBTY Europe, which includes the Holland and Barrett health food stores, is a former student of the Sir John Hampden School, High Wycombe. He left with two O levels and rose up through ASDA, becoming an area manager for Holland and Barrett in 1990.



  


Sir John Madejski

The co-founder of Auto Trader is better known these days for his chairmanship of Reading FC, as Chancellor of Reading University and his huge support of numerous local charities, including the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel at Pangbourne and a gallery at the Museum of Reading. He’s a Deputy Lieutenant of Berkshire.



  


Richie Nanda


Dr Nanda is chairman of TOPSGRUP, India’s largest security firm, which has become a global business. The 2014 Asian Business Awards ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’, he lives in Gerrards Cross.



  


Steve Sidhu

The founder of online foodie supermarket and delivery service Ten Mile Menu in the Chilterns champions the very best of local produce, offering fresh wares from small growers and producers.



  


Peter Jones

Maidenhead-born, the entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den star who launched Phones International Group attended Desborough School and Windsor Boys School. Now with numerous business interests, since 2005 The Peter Jones Foundation has encouraged enterprising skills in schools, and his Enterprise Academy provides BTEC and apprenticeship level courses. Jones was appointed a CBE in 2009.



  


Nicky Oppenheimer


The South African-born former chairman of De Beers diamond mining company treasures his Waltham Place estate near Maidenhead, together with wife Strilli. The organic farm with livestock has open days, as do the beautiful gardens.



  


Sir Peter Michael


The engineer and businessman who co-founded Classic FM has moved over the years from technology to wine expertise. The Michaels family owns The Vineyard at Stockcross.



 

Mark Getty

The son of the late billionaire philanthropist Sir John Paul Getty Jr, he co-founded Getty Images and has a home at the Wormsley Park estate in Buckinghamshire.



  


Mike Ashley

The former Burnham Grammar School student launched the Sports Direct stores, the first of which was in Maidenhead. He owns Newcastle FC, and recently has been in dispute with Scottish club Rangers over a £5m loan he made to them.



  


Mike Clare


The Beaconsfield-born entrepreneur and philanthropist founded Dreams, the bed store empire which he grew from a first shop to 200 superstores, before moving on to building a property portfolio of iconic and unusual buildings. He went to Davenies School, Chalfont Community College and High Wycombe College.



  


Dilshad Hothi


Co-founder with wife Barinder of The Knowledge Academy, providing project management and IT service management, Hothi has gone from a house in the back streets of Slough to a palatial home near Ascot.



  


Norman Grundon


The chairman of the largest privately owned waste management company in the UK lives at Hedgerley in Buckinghamshire, having taken over from his father Stephen, who began the business with a sand and gravel lorry. Today Nor-man’s son, Neil, is deputy chair-man of the family enterprise.



  


Paul Gibbons

The co-founder of Auto Trader with John Madejski was born in Reading. He now co-owns Leaderboard Golf Ltd with wife Jennifer. This includes Sand-ford Springs Golf Club at Highclere and The Oxfordshire Golf Club at Thame.



  


Alex Mayer

At just 26 this self starter representing our young entrepreneurs has grown his Ascot-based plumbing business, Boiler Servicing 24-7, in two years to 10 employees and seen turnover increase by more than 50% in the past 12 months. He’s in the running to win the inaugural UK Plumber of the Year competition. Poignantly, inspiration comes from remembering his mother, Julie Jane, who died following a battle with oesophageal cancer when he was 14.



  


Peter Ellis


The former City futures broker lives in Chenies, Buckinghamshire, and is the founder of Currencies Direct, now currencies.co.uk, which turns over more than £400m a year.



  


Colin Rayner


Wraysbury’s former mayor of the Royal Borough represents our farmers and family businesses as Rayners are known to have farmed in the area since the 16th century. In 1945 the family bought 60 acres in Horton and now manages land across the Thames Valley.



  



Tony Laithwaite


The wine vendor’s business began from Windsor’s Arches and today Henry Laithwaite, son of founder Tony, has vineyards at Marlow, Theale (where the company has its HQ) and Windsor Great Park.



  


Michael Shanly


The head of the home building and commercial property empire lives at Hurley. He’s a founder member the group which led to the creation of PRoM (the Partnership to Regenerate Maidenhead. Since 2010 the Shanly Foundation has donated over £5m to good causes, mostly within the Home Counties.



  


Adam Jacobs


Our vital family businesses are represented here by the man now heading up the innovative and award-winning jewellers in King Street, Reading, started by his grandparents, Douglas and Jean, 70 years ago.



  


Sir William McAlpine


Previously a director of construction company Sir Robert McAlpine for more than 50 years, he is a former High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire who lives at Fawley near Henley, home to the railway enthusiast’s Fawley Hill Railway.



  


Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron


The investment banker and philanthropist inherited Buckinghamshire’s Waddesdon and Eythrope estates in 1988; although Waddesdon Manor itself is a National Trust property he has been a major benefactor of its restoration.



  


Julian and Matt Walker


Another of our family concerns, funeral directors AB Walker of Reading is now run by the two brothers representing the fifth generation of the family originally from Marlow, with other offices in Bracknell, Caversham, Henley, Wokingham and Thatcham.



  


Sir Stuart Hampson


The chairman of the Crown Estate lives at Bledlow Ridge and prior to that was chairman of the John Lewis Partnership. He became a Deputy Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire in 2015, having been High Sheriff for a year from 2013.



  


Tony Laurenson

A high octane career has taken him from catering college to founding Global Infusion Group (GIG) – Chesham’s award-wining catering, logistics and brand support company, working at iconic events and locations worldwide. Last year the company secured a prestigious Queens Award for Enterprise in International Trade. Tony is proud to be a county ‘ambassador’ and is a keen supporter of many local charities.


 

 

EDUCATION

Anthony Wallersteiner


The Head Master of Stowe in Buckinghamshire, Dr Wallersteiner joined the school in 2003, A Cambridge history scholar and art historian with a particular interest in Cornish art, he was previously a housemaster at Tonbridge School and has also taught at St Paul’s and Sherborne. His policy is to ‘celebrate youth rather than stifle it’, with dynamic, inspirational teachers unlocking talent and a desire to learn.



  


Simon Henderson


The new Head Master at Eton from September, he’s moved from Bradfield College in West Berkshire after four years there. He’s a former Eton master who was Head of History from 2005 to 2009. The new Bradfield head is Dr Chris Stevens, previously Second Master at Marlborough College. Henderson replaces Tony Little, who retired after 13 years, during which time he greatly increased Eton’s engagement with state sector schools. Little has become Chief Education Officer at the international school group, GEMS Education.


 

 

LAW

Chris Hardy


Senior partner, chairman of the Supervisory Board and longest serving solicitor at Gerrards Cross law firm B P Collins LLP, Chris is highly regarded for his property expertise by legions of local home-owners. Having grown up in Bucks, Chris is a familiar figure as chairman of Chalfont St Giles Cricket Club, president of the Chilterns Cricket League and a former governor of Dr Challoner’s Grammar School.



  


Mark Phillips


The QC who specialises in international insolvency and reconstruction, banking and finance, is a former student of John Hampden Grammar School, High Wycombe. As well as clients such as the shareholders of Northern Rock, his work has a strong sports theme, acting for the liquidators of Rangers FC and on occasion for F1 star Lewis Hamilton and Arsenal FC.



  


Mark Stephens


Once described by the Law Society Gazette as ‘the patron solicitor of previously lost causes’, Stephens is an internationally renowned solicitor who was born in Old Windsor. He handles complex constitutional, media law and human rights cases, been involved in high profile litigation across the planet, and was appointed a CBE in 2012.



  


Tony Roe


Theale-based Roe has just been shortlisted for the family law commentator of the year awards run by Jordan Publishing. The divorce and family law specialist has written for The Times and Financial Times and used Freedom of Information requests to the Ministry of Justice to reveal that Bury St Edmunds would be the single divorce centre for London & the South East. He presents the annual Tony Roe Solicitors Family Law Prize to a final year student at the University of Reading.


 

 

CHARITY

Ray Edwards


Edwards, who lives at Sandhurst, lost all four limbs has a young man after developing septicaemia, having already survived cancer. He went on to climb Kilimanjaro, found charity Limbcare and become an inspirational speaker and author. In 2011 he was appointed an MBE.



  


Marcus Lee


The President of the Rotary Club of Gerrards Cross and Chalfont St Peter joined Rotary 20 years ago and is a lawyer with B P Collins LLP. Among the events organised are the charity Golf Day at Gerrards Cross Golf Club, a Classic Car Show, the Gerrards Cross Christmas Festival, Young Chef contests and trips for local elderly and disabled people. Support is given to Riding for the Disabled at Fulmer, Scannappeal and the Wexham Chemotherapy Unit.



  


Steve Woodford


The MD of Haslams Estate Agents represents the many people who have campaigned to see a memorial to Trooper Potts, Reading’s First World War VC winner, placed in the town. The committee chaired by Reading Civic Society’s Richard Bennett has been supported by main sponsors Haslams and in October a statue will be unveiled opposite the Crown Courts in the Forbury.


 

 

SOCIETY

Henry Aubrey-Fletcher


Sir Henry is Lord-Lieutenant for Buckinghamshire, an unpaid ceremonial role as HM The Queen’s representative. He is also Chief Magistrate of the County and Chairman of the Advisory Committee. His Vice Lord-Lieutenant is Alexander Boswell and they are supported by 34 Deputy Lieutenants. Aubrey-Fletcher’s a former Deputy Chairman of the National Trust and was President of the Country Land and Business Association for two years until 2010.



  


David Bertie


In a now ceremonial role dating back to Saxon times, Bertie became High Sheriff of Berkshire, the Queen’s highest judicial officer in the county, from April. High Sheriffs carry out an honorary supportive role in relation to the police and emergency services. The owner of the Allanbay Park Estate is supported by Under Sheriff Jonathan Gater of Blandy & Blandy LLP, Reading. In Buckinghamshire the role was held by Joseph Barclay of Latimer until Francesca Skelton of Great Linford took over earlier this year.



  


Peter Pearson


The Lieutenant-General, CB CBE was Commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Since 2012 he has been Governor of the Military Knights at Windsor Castle, in charge of the retired military officers who receive a pension and live there.



  


James Perowne


The former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, since 2014 as now Admiral Sir James Perowne, KBE, he’s been the Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle. This role puts him in charge of the day-to-day running of the castle for HM The Queen.



  


James Puxley


The farming owner of the Welford Estate near Newbury has been Lord-Lieutenant of Berkshire since the start of this year. A former President of the Royal Berkshire Show, he’s supported numerous local charities. His vice-lieutenant is retired solicitor Anthony West of Remenham, and there are 29 Deputy Lieutenants.


 

 

POLICE

Francis Habgood


Having served with West York Police since 1987, Habgood joined Thames Valley Police in January 2004 as Assistant Chief Constable (Specialist Operations). He was promoted to Deputy Chief Constable in October 2008. In April this year he took over as Chief Constable, replacing Sara Thornton, who left to head up the National Police Chiefs’ Council. He is married with two sons.



  


John Campbell


The Deputy Chief Constable was appointed in May, having previously been Assistant Chief Constable (Operations) since 2010. Prior to that he was with Hampshire Constabulary, where he was Basic Command Unit commander in Portsmouth before becoming BCU commander for Operations across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, having begun his career with West Midlands Police.



  


Alan Baldwin


The Assistant Chief Constable for Neighbourhood Policing and Partnerships was born and bred in Aylesbury and joined the police in 1987 after leaving Aylesbury Grammar School. He began his career with the Ministry of Defence Police and served with West Mercia Police and the Metropolitan Police before becoming Area Commander for Milton Keynes.



  


Richard List


The former pupil of the John Colet School, Wendover, has lived most of his life in the Aylesbury Vale and is now Acting Assistant Chief Constable – Crime/



He was previously a Detective Chief Inspector at High Wycombe and headed the Forces Specialist Operations Unit, and between 2008 and 2011 was the Police Commander for the Aylesbury Vale.



  


Chris Shead


The Joint Assistant Chief Constable for Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police – Operations has seen service with four different forces, the Metropolitan Police Service, Police Service of Northern Ireland, Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary. He joined us from PSNI and was previously the Area Commander for West Berkshire and Slough before leading the Basic Command Unit in Berkshire West.


 

 
  



MILITARY

Toby Till


The commander of the 1st Battalion of the Coldstream Guards, Lt Col Till returned with them to Windsor from Afghanistan last year following his eighth Army tour, and the battalion’s final one in Helmand Province. Soldiers under his command have also had plenty to do much closer to home, including helping when flooding early last year swamped parts of the town and surrounding villages. The battalion is expected to remain in Windsor until 2018/19.



  


Adrian Burns


Group Captain Adrian Burns was commissioned into the RAF in 1990 and is now Station Commander at RAF Halton near Wendover in Buckinghamshire. Operational experience has taken him across the world, including to Middle East, South Atlantic, Africa and Afghanistan. Previous roles have included Deputy Personal Staff Officer to Commander in Chief Strike Command and as Chief of Staff in Whitehall to the Prime Minister’s Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. A keen sportsman, he is Chairman of the RAF Sub Aqua Association.


 

 

FOOD MAESTROS

Heston Blumenthal


Having bought the now world-renowned Fat Duck at Bray in 1995, Blumenthal clearly likes the locality as he now also owns the popular nearby pubs, The Crown and The Hinds Head. He’s a former pupil of St John’s C of E school in Lacey Green, Buckinghamshire, and John Hampden Grammar School, High Wycombe.



  


Tom Clarke


The head chef of Shinfield’s Michaelin-starred L’Ortolan was appointed in the spring and his menus have resulted in excellent reviews. Previous experience includes at Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons with Raymond Blanc, and his contemporary take on classical French cuisine is attracting new fans.



  


André Garrett


Having trained with Guy Savoy in Paris, Garrett arrived at Cliveden House from Mayfair’s Galvin at Windows and produces exquisite dishes governed by English ingredients and the seasons. He’s particularly known for expertly reviving ‘culinary classics’ with new twists.



  


Tom Kerridge


Here’s a man who loves life in Marlow – and whose culinary work at The Hand and Flowers since 2005 has led to a queue for bookings from around the world. His first book, Proper Pub Food, was published in 2013 and there’s been a lot of TV work, most recently judging the chefs for BBC2’s The Great British Menu.



  


Alain Roux

The chef-patron of Bray’s The Waterside Inn took over from his father, Michel, in 2002. But he did it the hard way, honing his skills across France before a further 10 year ‘apprenticeship’ at Bray before getting to lead the 40-strong kitchen team. This year the Waterside became the first restaurant outside France to hold three Michelin stars for 30 years.



  


Chris Wheeler


Stoke Park’s head chef was first spotted by celebrated chef Jean Christophe-Novelli and joined Stoke Park some 12 years ago. He’s not rested on his laurels, bringing some fabulous new dishes and taste sensations to the celebrated Humphry’s restaurant there.



  


Simon Whitley

Having joined Coworth Park near Ascot as executive chef last year, the champion of local and seasonal produce brought with him almost 30 years of culinary expertise including at Simpson’s in The Strand, St Andrews Golf and Spa hotel and The Dorchester.


 

 

MUSIC

Sir Elton John


Now into his fifth decade in the music industry, John has sold over 300 million records. He and partner David Furnish married at their Old Windsor estate last year. Previously they were one of the first UK couple to form a civil partnership, in a ceremony at Windsor Guildhall.



  


Mike Oldfield

Born in Reading, the musician and composer is best known for best known for his 1973 album Tubular Bells. The son of a GP, he attended St. Joseph’s Convent School, Highlands Junior School, St. Edward’s preparatory school and Presentation College in the town.



  


John Otway


The Aylesbury-born singer-songwriter’s cult following has grown over the years since his first single way back in 1972. The man who describes himself as ‘rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest failure’ will play at Reading’s The Bowery District in Friar Street on Tuesday, December 22.



  


Jimmy Page


The spectacular guitarist and leader of rock band Led Zeppelin used to live at Windsor but now has a home in Sonning. Most recently he’s overseen an epic reissue of re-mastered versions of the band’s albums.



  


Sir Tim Rice


The lyricist and author was born at Shardeloes, near Amersham. He’s particularly known for the collaboration with Andrew Lloyd Webber on musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, and provided lyrics for musicals such as The Lion King and Aladdin.


Will Young


Born in Wokingham and raised in Hungerford, the singer-songwriter and former Pop Idol winner attended Horris Hill Preparatory School in Newbury before moving on to Wellington College in Crowthorne. His 25 city Love Revolution Tour starts in October.


 

 

WRITERS

Charlie Brooker


The journalist and TV satirist was born in Reading and grew up just over the border in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Oxfordshire. His caustic dissections in print and on the small screen have led to a huge following.



  


Richard Adams


Now 95, Adams was born at Wash Common, near Newbury, and attended Horris Hill School and Bradfield College. His literary classic, Watership Down, based around what was originally storytelling to his young daughters about the wildlife on the Berkshire-Hampshire border, was first published in 1972.



  


Michael Bond


The author of the Paddington Bear series was born in Newbury and grew up in Reading, where visits to the station grew his love of trains. After army service he worked for the BBC and wrote his first Paddington story during this time. The series has since sold more than 35 million books worldwide and the story told in the successful 2014 Paddington film. Bond, 89, was appointed a CBE this year.



  


Sir Ranulph Fiennes


The author, adventurer, explorer and charity fundraiser was born in Windsor. Among his many feats are climbing Everest ) at the age of 65 (in an expedition led by Kenton Cool, a former student of John Hampden Grammar School, High Wycombe) and surviving severe frostbite at The North Pole. On 29 September he will be as Henley Literary Festival to speak about Heat, his latest book.



  


Robert Harris


Harris lives with his wife and fellow author Gill Hornby (sister of Nick) at Kintbury in West Berkshire. His first best-seller was Fatherland, set around an ‘alternative history’ Second World War. His latest novel, Dictator, is due out next month.



  


Nick Hornby

One of the many success stories from Maidenhead Grammar School (now Desborough College), Hornby gained major attention with novels Fever Pitch, High Fidelity and About a Boy, the latter becoming a major film starring Hugh Grant. Fever Pitch also made it to the big screen, starring Colin Firth, and High Fidelity became a Broadway musical.



  


Shaun Hutson


A writer of horror novels and dark thrillers, Hutson lives in Milton Keynes. More than three dozen books have followed Slugs, his first success in 1982, with the latest, Monolith, published this year.



  


John O’Farrell


Another of the ‘Desborough Old Boys’ from Maidenhead (he also attended Courthouse Primary School there), the scriptwriter and author of The Man Who Forgot His Wife and An Utterly Impartial History of Britain, is also known for TV appearances, particularly on Have I Got News For You.



  


Frederick Forsyth


The best-selling author of numerous novels including Day of the Jackal and The Odessa File, just two of the many turned into major films, lives at Seer Green, Buckinghamshire. His work has resulted in over 70 million sales to date. Forsyth was appointed a CBE in 1997.



  


Adam Roberts


The sci-fi writer and critic lives in Ascot. He’s received three nominations for the Arthur C Clarke award and in 2012 won the British Science Fiction Association’s award for Best Novel.


 

 

STAGE & SCREEN

Sir David Jason


Many people’s favourite TV star, courtesy of super performances in Only Fools and Horses, Darling Buds of May, Open All Hours and A Touch of Frost, he has lived in the Buckinghamshire village of Ellesborough for many years. He is a patron of Chilterns MS Centre in Wendover and opened its new premises in 2012.



  


Steve Backshall


The award-winning naturalist, author and TV presenter lived in Marlow for 15 years before recently hopping across the border into Berkshire, but still close to the Thames. He’s the president of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxon Wildlife Trust.



  


Matt Dawson


England’s most capped rugby union scrum half, who attended High Wycombe’s Royal Grammar School, obviously qualifies for our sports section, but we’ve placed him here as a team captain on A Question of Sport for more than a decade, winning Celebrity Masterchef and as a Strictly Come Dancing runner-up.



  


Jimmy Carr


The comedian and TV host grew up in the Slough area, went to Farnham Common School and Burnham Grammar School and then sixth form at High Wycombe’s Royal Grammar School. He’s currently touring with his Funny Business show, which comes to Reading’s Hexagon in October.



  


Sir Kenneth Branagh


Although born in Northern Ireland, the actor and director grew up in Reading, attending Grove and Whitenights Primary Schools, followed by Tilehurst’s now closed Meadway School before joining RADA. Since 2011 he has been Patron of the town’s Progress Theatre.



  


George Clooney


Just as his wife Amal made our ladies list, the Hollywood superstar joins or list because of their purchase of a home at Sonning. They’ve been busy having the house refurbished and been spotted in local pubs.



  


James Corden


The actor, writer and TV host is the son of an RAF band musician and grew up in Hazlemere, Buckinghamshire, attending Park Middle and Holmer Green Upper schools. His big break was the BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey. He was appointed an OBE in the 2015 New Year Honours.



  


Chris Evans


The new host of Top Gear and BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show DJ has a mansion in Sunninghill, but more recently the family has moved to a property in Primrose Hill, London, close to his children’s new school.



  


Sir Michael Parkinson


‘Parky’, the broadcaster, journalist and author, has lived in Bray with wife Mary for many years and is the founder patron of Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service charity in Berkshire, a charity he says he will support ‘to the end’.



  


Vernon Kay

The TV presenter lives in Fulmer, Buckinghamshire, with his wife Tess Daly and their two daughters. His shows include All Star Family Fortunes. They are often seen locally and Kay turned up at Gerrards Cross summer fair in July.



  


Ricky Gervais

Born in Whitley, Reading, the comedian, actor and writer attended junior schools there and then Ashmead Comprehensive School, of which he has very fond memories, including the English teacher, Mr Taylor, who drummed into him: “Write what you know.” He’s gone on to worldwide success since TV hit The Office, based on Slough Trading Estate.



  


Sir Terry Wogan


Much of his work as a radio and TV host has been with the BBC, including Children in Need and on Radio 2. Sir Terry lives in Taplow with wife Helen. In 2007 he was made a Deputy Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire.



  


Sam Mendes

 The stage and film director, who won an Oscar for American Beauty, was born in Reading and until 2011 was married to Kate Winslet, who also hails from the town. Other films include Skyfall – and the latest Bond film, Spectre, due out in October. He was appointed a CBE in 2000.



  


Al Murray


The comedian particularly known for his larger-than-life character ‘The Pub Landlord’ was born at Stewkley, Buckinghamshire, and is descended from the dukes of Atholl. Earlier this year he stood, in his Pub Landlord persona at the General Election in South Thanet but, like UKIP leader Nigel Farage, was not elected.



  


Noel Fielding


The comedian and co-writer of The Mighty Boosh was a team captain of BBC2’s Never Mind The Buzzcocks for six years. He graduated with a BA in Graphic Design and Advertising from Buckinghamshire New University. In 2011 he and Mighty Boosh co-creator Dave Brown returned to pick up honorary masters degrees.



  


Chris Tarrant


The radio and TV host of shows including Who Wants to be a Millionaire, was born in Reading. In recent years he has been a very active patron of The Trooper Potts Memorial Appeal (Reading’s First World War recipient of the VC). In November he will host the Pride of Reading awards.



  


Jeremy Kyle


Host of the controversial TV show bearing his name, Kyle was born in Reading and attended Reading Blue Coat School at Sonning, as did Wokingham-born Matt Allwright, consumer affairs champion and presenter of Rogue Traders.


 

 

SPORT

AP McCoy


We just have to start with the genius jockey of a generation, Lambourn-based AP McCoy OBE, who topped the winners tables for 20 years until retiring with yet another string of seasonal accolades in April.



The most successful jump jockey in history, the record books list the thousands of successful rides, but not always the numerous – and serious – career-threatening injuries he survived during those years.



Not that he’s completely left saddles behind. The ‘Champ’ led former weighing room colleagues to victory in the JCB Champions Challenge at the St. James’s Place Wealth Management Barbury International Horse Trials in July, aptly in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, of which he is vice patron.



Away from the courses, in 2010 McCoy was the first jockey to be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year, and has produced three autobiographical books. He lives with wife Chanelle and their two children.



  


Nicky Henderson


The twice Champion trainer is based at Seven Barrows and has enjoyed tremendous success over the years, including with Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Long Run and Bobs Worth.



  


Andrew Balding


This year the trainer based at Park House Stables, Kingsclere has been Royal Windsor Racecourse Monday Night Ambassador, both at the course and helping racegoers with ‘Balding’s Bankers’ tips at www.windsor-racecourse.co.uk. By July his runners had passed the £1m mark in prize money since last November, and he’s close to the 1,000 mark of career wins.


Peter Walwyn



The retired trainer holds the MBE, was twice British flat racing champion and his notable successes include Grundy, winner of the Derby and other top Group 1 races. Peter is Chairman of the Lambourn Trainers Association, and organisation he set up with Dan Abbott in 1989.


 

Other Lambourn area trainers


Brendan Powell: the 1988 pilot of Grand National winner Rhyme ‘n’ Reason is at Newlands Stables; Clive Cox, Beechdown; Harry Dunlop, Windsor House; Mark Usher, Saxon House Stables Jamie Osborne, The Old Malthouse; Jamie Snowden, Folly House, trainer of Cheltenham Festival winner Present View; Jonathan Portman, Whitcoombe House, who sends out regular winners at Windsor and Newbury; Michael Blanshard, Lethornes Stables; Oliver Sherwood, Rhonehurst; Pat Murphy, Glebe House Stables, East Garston; Paul Fitzsimons, Saxon Gate; Stan Moore, Berkeley House; Sylvester Kirk, Cedar Lodge Stables; Warren Greatrex, Uplands; William Muir, Linkslade; Mick Channon at West Ilsley Stables.


 

Buckinghamshire trainers


Former Champion jockey Pat Eddery has stables at Nether Winchendon, near Aylesbury; Martin Bosley operates from Bowstridge Farm, Chalfont St Giles, where he has around a dozen horses including flat and NH winners; Tim Jarvis sends horses out from Twyford Mill, Twyford, and Phil Middleton is also in Aylesbury Vale, at Dorton.



  


Sir Jackie Stewart


The motor racing legend lives at Ellesborough in Buckinghamshire and at 76 is still a valued pundit, attending perhaps 10 Grand Prix each season. Born in Dumbarton, Scotland, he’s the only Briton to have won three World Drivers’ Champion-ships, a record currently chased by one Lewis Hamilton. He was knighted in 2001.



  


Luke Donald


A former student at High Wycombe’s Royal Grammar School, Donald played at both Beaconsfield and Hazlemere Golf Clubs at junior level, and was twice club champion at Beaconsfield, winning his first title there aged 15. He has since gone on to hold the World Number One position in 2011. He was appointed an MBE the following year.



  


Theo Walcott


The Arsenal striker may have been born in West London, but he was raised in Compton, West Berkshire, attending Compton Church of England Primary School and nearby The Downs School (looking embarrassed in assembly when it was revealed he’d played for England Schoolboys). In the early days he played for the village team and then joined Newbury, notching up a swift 100 goals before signing for Swindon Town and then Southampton (rejecting Chelsea along the way)… the rest is very expensive history!



  


Mark Webber


Pro racing driver Webber was born in Australia but now lives in Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire. He retired from Formula1 at the end of the 2013 season and moved to the FIA World En-durance Championship with Porsche. Last year as a Buckinghamshire Ambassador (a scheme launched in 2004 by the county council) Webber agreed to be Patron of the Aylesbury College Trust, a registered charity. He launched the annual Webber Youth Challenge for the county’s youngsters to compete in a challenge of teamwork, inclusion, determination and endurance.



  


Andrew Strauss

The former England cricket captain’s life has taken him across the world, but now he lives in Marlow, a town he loves, with wife Ruth and their two children, having previously lived in Farnham Common. In 2011 he was appointed an OBE, having become the first captain to lead England to Ashes success in Australia since 1986/87. This year he became England’s Director of Cricket.



  


Ian Poulter


The pro golfer who’s become our favourite Ryder Cup hero lives in Milton Keynes when not in the States where he has a Florida home with wife Katie and the four children. Poulter began his career as an assistant pro at Leighton Buzzard Golf Club and has been attached to Woburn Golf Club since 2003.



  


Greg Rutherford


The 2012 London Olympics long jump gold medallist was born in Bletchley and attended Two Mile Ash Primary School and Denbigh School in Milton Keynes. It’s now 10 years since he woke up the athletics world by setting a British Junior Record when winning the European Junior Championships. Appointed an MBE in the 2013 New Years Honours List, he’s still chasing records and set a new indoor personal best this year. Rutherford lives in Woburn Sands and next month will see the first birthday of his son Milo, born to partner Susie Verrill.



  


Sir Steve Redgrave


Marlow’s five times Olympic gold medallist has never stopped setting himself targets. The Steve Redgrave Fund, which uses the power and inspiration of sport to change the lives of disadvantaged children, young people and their communities sailed past the £5m mark and is now partnered with Sport Relief. Since being diagnosed with diabetes 18 years ago he’s also championed ways to limit the condition, insisting it has to live with him, not him with it – that winning spirit has not been defeated. This year the former Great Marlow School pupil took on the chairmanship of Henley Regatta. No doubt he was looking out for the potential rowing stars of the future to bring back Olympic Gold to Great Britain. Perhaps, one day, they will include the likes of Chalfont St Peter teenagers Christopher Daniell, Matt Lucas and Sam Long, from Dr Challoner’s Grammar School, Amersham. They teamed up with Marlow Rowing Club’s John Cooper to be in the GB team which defeated France in an U16 match in July.

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