3. Dame Mary Lesley Perkins
Net worth: £1.45bn
Dame Mary Lesley Perkins, DBE is co-founder of Specsavers, the British retail opticians chain.
Together with her husband, co-founder and chairman Doug Perkins, Dame Mary has three children, all of whom work for Specsavers, and are eventually expected to take over the privately owned company.
Perkins was made an honorary fellow of Cardiff University in 2005. The same year she received the Rotary International Community and Vocational Service Award for her services to charity and in 2006 won the inaugural Spirit of everywoman Award. Perkins was the first female optician in the UK to receive the title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2007.
The accolade was also in recognition of her other charitable work, including the Guernsey annual “Specsavers Liberation Tea Dance for pensioners”, and her directorship of Women’s Refuge and Age Concern. She was awarded the Spirit of Everywoman Award in 2006. She is also a patron to leading children’s charity Kidscape.
In 2012 Dame Mary Perkins was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Business from Plymouth University.
In February 2013 she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4.
In July 2015 she was made an Officer Sister of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem.
In October 2017, Dame Mary was honoured with an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year UK Lifetime Achievement Award for her continued contribution to entrepreneurship and the economy.