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We were delighted to welcome back Mr Simon Leonard, Old Blue from the Class of 1997 as the keynote speaker at our annual Prize Giving ceremony which took place in St. George’s Hall on Monday 15th December.

Simon is a successful entrepreneur. He began the entrepreneur’s life by breeding and selling stick insects to his fellow pupils and friends at The Blue Coat School as well as successfully undercutting the School’s tuck shop! Whilst at School Simon became a regional and national chess champion, and believes many of the strategic skills he learnt from chess have stood him in good stead in his later business career.

Over the years Simon has started numerous businesses and prides himself on having learnt from each experience. Whilst at the University of Liverpool, Simon obtained an honours LLB law degree, but upon graduating decided to further develop his business interests he had begun whilst studying. By 2007 Simon had started his latest venture The Gourmet Society, a membership club that allows its members access to discounted meals at 6,500 UK restaurants and by 2014 had over 1 million UK members. In 2014 Simon sold The Gourmet Society to the Dutch specialist promotions company Didix International and Simon is now a director and shareholder of Didix International.

Speaking to the students at Prize Giving Simon gave an overview of his journey since leaving the School and highlighted the importance of spotting an opportunity, and that you don’t necessarily have to have an idea first, you just need to make sure whatever you do is better than your competitor to be a success.

He attributed his success to three things – hard work, knowing how to spot an opportunity or gap in the market, and not being afraid of failure. Simon ended his speech urging students to “push yourself every day to do your very best”.


Simon is pictured with his parents Mr and Mrs Barry Leonard and Headteacher Mrs Silcock.


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