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Robert Macfarlane is a writer whose books about the natural world, including The Wild Places and The Old Ways, have won many prizes and taken root in the best-seller charts. He was born into a family of enthusiastic amateur climbers and his early memories include being carried up the Cairngorms on his father's back. This childhood experience led to…
 
Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill is an Olympic gold medallist and three-time world champion heptathlete, and is one of the most successful women in British sporting history. She was the face of Team GB during the 2012 London Olympics, and her image adorned billboards and hoardings across the country in the run up to the Games.Born in Sheffield, Jessica disc…
 
Paul Costelloe is a fashion designer who recently celebrated his 36th year showing at London Fashion Week, making him the event’s longest-standing designer.Paul was born in Dublin where his father ran a successful company making raincoats. He studied at the Grafton Academy of Fashion Design and then moved to Paris where he started a fashion course …
 
Margaret Busby is a publisher and editor who was the chair of the Booker Prize jury in 2020.She has spent a life time in the literary world and was the youngest person and first black woman to set up a publishing house when she was twenty three years old. Together with Clive Allison, she created Allison and Busby based in Soho, London.Margaret was …
 
Richard Wilson is an actor and director who became a household name when he played the part of Victor Meldrew in the BBC sitcom One Foot in the Grave. Richard was born in Greenock in Scotland in 1936. As a child he performed in amateur drama productions and harboured a secret desire to become an actor. He left school at 17 and trained as a laborato…
 
Yo-Yo Ma is a cellist and one of the world's most high-profile classical musicians. He has performed for eight US Presidents, appeared in concert halls across the globe and reached new audiences through film soundtracks and TV shows including The Simpsons and Sesame Street. Yo-Yo Ma was born in Paris in 1955. His Chinese-born parents were both musi…
 
Heather Hallett, Baroness Hallett of Rye, is a former judge and a cross-bench peer. Called to the Bar in 1972, Heather practised family, civil and criminal law, eventually specialising in criminal law. In 1989 she became a QC and was the first woman to chair the Bar Council in 1998. She was only the fifth woman to be appointed to the Court of Appea…
 
Amanda Khozi Mukwashi is the chief executive of Christian Aid, leading development and humanitarian work in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean.Amanda was born in Twickenham and grew up in Zambia and Rome where her stepfather worked in the diplomatic service. She studied international trade and investment law at the Un…
 
Alexei Sayle is a comedian and writer, who began his career just over 40 years ago at the small Comedy Store venue in London, which proved a launch-pad for a new generation of comic stars. Alexei was born in Liverpool, where his parents were loyal members of the Communist Party: their politics informed almost every aspect of the family’s life, incl…
 
Brian Greene is a theoretical physicist, mathematician and writer, whose area of research is string theory. His books and broadcasts distil the complexities of science for a general audience, leading one critic to say appreciatively “he speaks maths, physics and human.”Born in New York City, his father taught him the basics of arithmetic when he wa…
 
Billie Piper is an Olivier Award winning actor and former pop star.She was born in Swindon in September 1982, and her parents nurtured her interests in dance and drama from a young age. After a winning a scholarship to study at the Sylvia Young Theatre School, she moved to London as a young teenager, leaving the family home. By the age of 15, she w…
 
Russell T Davies is one of the U.K.'s most successful television writers. He spent his teenage years learning his dramatic craft with the West Glamorgan Youth Theatre, and his career in television began in the children's department at the BBC.His first solo hit TV series was the ground-breaking, sexually frank drama Queer as Folk, first broadcast o…
 
Professor Sir Simon Wessely is the first ever psychiatrist to be awarded a Regius professorship – an honour bestowed by the Queen. He is professor of psychological medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, and is also a consultant psychiatrist at King’s College Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital.…
 
Maggie O’Farrell has written eight novels, a memoir and a children’s book. In 2020 her novel Hamnet won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and was also named Waterstones Book of the Year.Maggie was born in Northern Ireland. Her parents moved around during her childhood, and she grew up in Wales and Scotland. As a young girl, she was very ill and almost…
 
Baroness Casey of Blackstock is a former civil servant specialising in social welfare, who has worked under five prime ministers. She has taken on some of UK society’s most difficult issues, including homelessness, anti-social behaviour and family breakdown, and has become known for her forthright views.She grew up in Portsmouth and her first job w…
 
Mark Strong has appeared in more than 60 films, along with numerous TV dramas and plays. His career took off after he won a leading role in the landmark 1996 BBC series Our Friends in the North, and since then his screen work includes dramas such as Syriana, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Zero Dark Thirty and The Imitation Game, as well as the fantasy …
 
Claire Horton is the former chief executive of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, and is currently director general of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.She joined Battersea in 2010 during its landmark 150th year, spearheading a campaign which transformed the animal rescue service into a UK top 10 charity brand. During her years in charge, income a…
 
Malala Yousafzai is an activist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize when she was 17 - becoming the youngest winner in its history. Today she is known globally for her human rights advocacy and her ongoing campaign to ensure all children have equal access to education.She was born in the Swat Valley in northern Pakistan where her father Ziauddin w…
 
George McGavin is an entomologist, explorer and broadcaster, who has spread the word about the importance of insects to audiences in their millions. Born in Glasgow, he grew up in Edinburgh where he studied zoology at university. Following a PhD in entomology, he went on to teach and research at the University of Oxford. He gave up his post as the …
 
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