I am humbled and very surprised by this award. I am delighted to be a member of the Development Board and hope to continue to play a tiny part in its successful journey, and that of its students
Simon was a pupil at Repton School, Derby, before attending agricultural college in Northumberland where he studied shepherding. He went on to work in northern England and Scotland prior to setting up his own farm business in Staffordshire in 1987.
Simon’s commercial interests are extensive, embracing farming and property, and he is Chairman of Dunstall Holdings Ltd, which includes John Deere dealerships for Shropshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire and mid-Wales.
In 2004 he was appointed Non-Executive Director of St Modwen Properties plc, a FTSE 250 company, founded in 1966 by his late father, Sir Stanley Clarke, CBE, and Honorary Doctor of Staffordshire University.
Simon’s main passion outside work is horse racing, the high point of which was seeing his Grade 1 steeplechaser, Nacarat, winning a Grade 1 contest at Aintree. He has held a number of related positions including Vice Chairman of The Racecourse Association and Chairman of Northern Racing Ltd. Simon is currently Trustee for the Racing Welfare Trust and Chairman of Racing Homes, an associated housing association.
In 2011, and in recognition of Simon’s distinguished career, he was appointed High Sheriff of Staffordshire for one year, to serve The Queen, promote the county and be a ceremonial figurehead for law and order. The accolade provided an opportunity for Simon to see first hand the positive impact of the voluntary sectors’ work on people from all walks of life. In due course, Simon was “thrilled, delighted and honoured” to be appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Staffordshire in 2014.
The Prince's Trust was Simon's preferred charity during his year as High Sheriff, benefiting from fund raising efforts and his programme of inspirational talks for young entrepreneurs. Simon continues to support the valuable work of The Prince’s Trust.
In 2013, Simon accepted Staffordshire University’s invitation to become a member of the Development Board, a body which leads on income generating activities to support disadvantaged, gifted students and to provide investment for a university fit for the future.
The award of Honorary Doctor of the University recognises Simon’s commitment to higher education in the county and his guiding role on the Development Board. It also acknowledges his distinguished achievements in business and commerce and continuing services to the economic wealth of the wider region.
Simon said, “I am humbled and very surprised by this award. I am delighted to be a member of the Development Board and hope to continue to play a tiny part in its successful journey, and that of its students.”