Barry Hearn qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1970 and spent several years with a major firm of international accountants before moving into the commercial world as finance director of Kensal House Investments. He became chairman of Lucania Snooker Clubs in 1974 and began to involve the snooker hall chain in amateur tournament promotions.
In 1976 Steve Davis began playing at the Romford Lucania Club and the two struck up a friendship which was to have a major influence on the world of snooker. In 1982 Riley Leisure acquired the chain of Lucania Snooker Clubs for £3.1 million leaving Barry free to concentrate on the development of snooker, both in the UK and overseas. With the support of the Matchroom professional players, Barry promoted snooker all over the world and has been particularly instrumental in the development of the game in the Far East.
Barry began his involvement in big time boxing by going straight in at the deep end – staging the Joe Bugner v Frank Bruno heavyweight show-down at Tottenham’s White Hart Lane Stadium in 1987, in front of 30,000 people. Together with Sky Sports, Barry helped discover and develop such champions as Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn, Herbie Hide, Francis Ampofo, Steve Collins, and Jim McDonnell. In more recent times, in conjunction with his son Eddie, the Hearns have set the likes of Carl Froch and Olympian Anthony Joshua on the path to glittering success.
Married to Susan with two children, Barry lists his sporting interests as fishing, running and golf. Whilst he has no pretensions about his snooker skills or come to that, his boxing ability – Barry is a fanatical angler and spends many a relaxing hour outwitting the carp in his private lake.
As long-standing Chairman of the Professional Darts Corporation, Barry has overseen one of the sports business’s biggest success stories as darts has developed into a massive arena sport. In March 1995, Barry Hearn assumed a controlling interest in Leyton Orient Football Club and over a twenty year period stabilised the club on a sound financial footing.
Finally, returning to his roots, in December 2009, Barry was voted in as Chairman of World Snooker and has since assumed a leading role as the revitalisation of the sport has gone from strength to strength and turned snooker into a real global sport.
Over the years, Barry Hearn’s Matchroom Sport organisation has grown into one of the world’s most prolific independent sports promotion and television companies, producing over 1,000 hours of original material each year.
Judd Trump, age 27 from Keynsham, has won a host of major titles since turning pro 11 years ago, including the 2011 UK Championship and last season’s China Open. Jessie May is also World Snooker’s official charity partner for the 2017/18 season and there will be various initiatives at snooker events throughout the season to raise much-needed funds.
Sharron Davies occupies a unique position in British life. She has occupied a position as one of the UK’s best known and most popular women since she burst onto the scene as a 13-year-old Olympian in 1976. Sharron Davies MBE is the ultimate Olympian, attaining Olympic Medallist status and attending 11 Olympic Games – three as an athlete and 8 as a broadcaster for the BBC. In addition Sharron has been a leading broadcaster at poolside for an array of Commonwealth, European and the World events with unparalleled experience over the past 35 years as a competitor and broadcaster.
“I am very proud to be an Ambassador of Jessie May – Children’s Hospice at Home – it’s a wonderful organisation that is truly transforming lives. Jessie May Nurses provide vital medical care and support to children with very complex needs. Jessie May are more than a nurse they are part of the family”.
Julianne is a multi-award-winning young entrepreneur who’s created snack bars and baking mixes to cater for all different allergies, vegans and those wanting a healthy, yet tasty alternative to what’s in the market. Her products are sold in Asda, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Ocado and many more (over 5,000 stores across the UK!), as well as overseas in countries like Iceland, Malta, Switzerland, Portugal and Brunei! It almost didn’t happen for her though…
…At 9 years old, Julianne was given just 4 hours to live after a routine laparoscopy for pancreatitis ran into complications. With the help of some amazing young doctors, Julianne pulled through and was walking, running and dancing within 3 weeks (although she had to stay in the hospital for over 6 months). Her pancreatitis came back at 17 and doctors told Julianne she wouldn’t live past 24. Now aged 29, Julianne is living proof that no matter how difficult the situation seems, belief is more powerful.
“I’m so happy to be supporting Jessie May as it’s a charity so close to my heart. I wish they could have been there when I was younger and had pancreatitis, an illness never recorded in children as young as me. It was a scary time for me and my parents, so having Jessie May nurses would have helped us out immensely. I look forward to getting to know the children and supporting in any way I can.”
James was commissioned from Sandhurst in 1970 into 9th/12th Royal Lancers, a reconnaissance regiment. During a 35 year career, he served in Germany, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. His last appointment was as a Major General at the NATO HQ in Norway.
On retirement, he set up a business consultancy in Bristol providing strategic planning guidance to small companies. During this time, he was Chair of Trustees of Jessie May for 5 years.
James says: “After 8 years running my company, I fulfilled my dream, together wife my wife Claire, of exploring some of the world in our boat. We sailed across the Atlantic and spent 4 years exploring the Caribbean and the northwest coast of South America; this adventure included sailing 16,000nm and visiting 35 countries.
“We have just taken our boat down the French Canals to Marseille. Now with 5 grandchildren, I will be spending more time in England and helping Jessie May as an Ambassador.”