Peter Sparling MBE

Peter Sparling was presented with his MBE by the Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Dame Ingrid Roscoe, at a lunchtime celebration function held at Bowcliffe Hall, Wetherby.

The prestigious award of Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) is conferred on individuals who have made a significant achievement in or contributed an outstanding service to the community.

Peter Sparling has made a major contribution to local politics, education and the arts in Leeds for many years and, in particular, in the development of what is now The Grammar School at Leeds. Mr Sparling was a governor of the former Leeds Grammar School for 30 years and Chair of Governors for 17 years of that period, leading the school to a total new build on a new site.

He was also the prime mover of the merger of Leeds Grammar School with Leeds Girls High School in 2005 to form a co-educational independent day school with 2,200 pupils. Through his leadership and direction, the school has moved from a traditional institution to become a modern, vibrant educational establishment catering for a wide range of pupils in Leeds.

Mr Sparling was also an active presence in local government and gave long and dedicated service to Leeds City Council, where he served as a councillor for 19 years and was also Leader of the Council. On his retirement, he was created Honorary Alderman of the City of Leeds.

He has been an enthusiastic supporter of the arts in Leeds for almost half a century, in particular with Opera North. Mr Sparling has been a major force with the company, originally as a founder member in 1978, then as a director and he is currently Vice-Chairman. Mr Sparling has also been a director of West Yorkshire Playhouse and Leeds Grand Theatre.

On receiving his MBE, Mr Sparling said: “I am most proud of being involved in the foundation of Opera North and the moving and amalgamation of what is now The Grammar School at Leeds, both of which are now on a very solid basis. I was born in Leeds and I have always wanted to do what I could to promote the organisations within the city.”