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Spandex founders awarded MBEs in King's Birthday Honours

Charlie and Mary Dobson, the founders of Spandex, have been awarded Members of the Order of the British Empire in the recent King's Birthday Honours.

The award was testament to the couple's outstanding fundraising efforts for children and young adults with disabilities and life-threatening illnesses.

Following an accident in which their son Julian lost two fingers, Mr and Mrs Dobson, founded the Charles and Mary Dobson Charitable Trust in 1988 through which they donated a percentage of their annual salaries to charitable causes. Their fundraising continued through their trust, The Spandex Foundation, which was renamed The Starfish Trust in 1998.

Their charitable trusts have distributed almost £7m in grants, helping fund the likes of six specialist hydrotherapy pools for disabled children, a meningitis research laboratory at the University of Bristol and the development of a children’s hospice in Bristol, for which they gave £1m.

Mr Dobson said: "In 1976, my wife Mary and I founded Spandex, and with the help of an amazing team, we built it into a remarkable public company, which was sold in 1998 for £110m. During this period, we also established a charitable trust, and much to our surprise, we have been included in the 2024 King's Birthday Honours, each awarded an MBE.

"None of this would have been possible without the dedication of all the fantastic personnel at Spandex between 1976 and 1998 – a big thank you to you all."


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