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Sir Peter Vardy (born 4 March 1947) is a British businessman and philanthropist from Houghton-le-Springmarker in Durhammarker. His business interests have been mainly in the automotive retail business. In the Sunday Times Rich List 2009 ranking of the wealthiest people in the UK he was placed 388th with an estimated fortune of £140million.

He attended the Chorister Schoolmarker in Durham (1956–1961) and Durham Schoolmarker.

Business interests

Vardy took control of the car dealership Reg Vardy plc in 1976, after the death of the founder Reg Vardy, his father. In the late 1970s he was successful in acquiring franchises to sell various brands in the UK. From 1982 he expanded into the volume car market, first with British manufacturers and subsequently with European and Japanese marques. In January 2006 the dealership was sold to Pendragon, the largest UK car dealership chain, for £506m. Vardy stepped down as Chief Executive the following month.

Vardy was awarded the inaugural Industry Personality of the Year Award in a round of Automotive Management Awards and received a knighthood for services to education in the Queen's Birthday Honours list of 2001.

In May 2006, The Vardy Group of Companies was launched in Durham, comprising: Vardy Venture Capital, established by Sir Peter Vardy; Vardy Property Group, launched by his elder son Richard; and Peter Vardy Ltd, launched by Peter Vardy (grandson of Reg Vardy) who had previously been General Manager of Rossleigh Jaguar Edinburgh.

Commitment to education and philanthropy

As a devout Christian, he has a long commitment to philanthropy, through the Vardy Foundation, supporting a very wide range of community causes.

He has been at the forefront of business involvement in education, and funded the building of a City Technology College in Gateshead and three Academies in Middlesbrough, Thorne and Blyth. These four schools form the Emmanuel Schools Foundation, a coalition of schools with a Christian ethos based in the north of Englandmarker. The schools have received Ofsted ratings from "good" to "outstanding".

Vardy has stated that widespread reports that he is a creationist are incorrect, and that he has a very traditional view about how science should be taught. In an interview with the BBC Today programme, Vardy said: "I believe that God created the earth and created man in his own image; quite how long it took him I don't know". As Ofsted inspectors report, science is taught according to the national curriculum in these schools and to very high academic standards.


  1. Sunday Times Rich List 2009 online edition
  2. Chorister School website
  3. VARDY, Sir Peter in Who's Who 2007 online at (accessed 20 October 2007)
  4. Business honours: Services to education, BBC News, 15 June 2001
  5. Peter Vardy Ltd in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For 2009 List
  6. Emmanuel Schools Foundation website
  7. They aren't faith schools and they don't select, The Guardian, 5 December 2006
  8. Interview (RealAudio stream), Today programme, BBC, 15 April 2006.

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