Kirsty Bertarelli is a songwriter and singer, model and former Miss UK, wife of businessman Ernesto Bertarelli, and mother to three children.
She grew up in Staffordshire, where her family owns Churchill China, one of the world’s major manufacturers of ceramic products. Kirsty remains connected to Staffordshire not just through her parents, who live in the county, but also through her philanthropic endeavours as a trustee of the Bertarelli Foundation. She has supported many artistic and community projects in Stoke-on-Trent, including the Creative Minds Festival at the Regent Theatre, the Stoke Literary Festival, and Creative Youth Minds with the YMCA in Hanley.
This latter partnership, aims to give young people at the YMCA access to new opportunities in and around the creative arts. Workshops are run throughout the year to help new skills to develop and for hidden talents to be showcased. A resource and training fund also supports young people in developing a career or education in the creative industries, as well as offering them the opportunity to take part in overseas work and development through an international bursary.
Kirsty’s own creative career began as a child, when she would write poems and later songs. She took part in local musicals and theatre before signing up to a model agency in her teens. In 1988 she was crowned Miss UK and took part in the Miss World pageant in the same year, placing second runner up.
After moving to London, Kirsty began to write music professionally and was signed to Warner Records. In 2000, she wrote “Black Coffee”, which girl group All Saints recorded and took to number one in the UK. She later signed to Universal Music and then Sony/ATV Music, releasing several singles and albums, as well as performing live.
Kirsty now lives in Switzerland with her three children and husband Ernesto, former owner of biotech giant Serono. The family’s Foundation works extensively in the fields of marine conservation and neuroscience.
The Award of Honorary Doctor of Arts is bestowed upon Kirsty in recognition of her charitable work and as an inspiration for young people in her active role supporting artistic and community projects throughout Stoke-on-Trent. The award also celebrates her heritage in the creative heart of the Potteries.