Barrie Wells is an English financial services entrepreneur and businessperson, who has set up and sold two major insurance-related businesses in his career. In 2008, so inspired by the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Wells donated £2 million to a sports athletics fund to sponsor future British athletes.
Wells set up direct home and motor insurance operation Prospero Direct, which after its sale became AXA Direct. He then setup Premierline Direct, the UK's first direct commercial insurance operation which he founded with his business partner, Philippa Rothwell; this was then sold to Allianz in 2006. Wells was also a non-executive director of Marks & Spencer Money for ten years.
A keen amateur 400m runner, Wells has travelled to every Olympic Games since 1972. He has had a box at Liverpool F.C.'s Anfield ground since 2010, which he donates for the use of disabled and terminally ill children and young adults. Wells was made an Honorary Doctor of Business Administration by Edge Hill University in 2014. Wells is also a patron to Alder Hey Charity.
Barrie Wells Trust
After being inspired by a visit to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Wells set up the Wells Sports Foundation, which was rebranded in 2015 as the Barrie Wells Trust.
Wells personally funded 18 athletes in the build up to the 2012 Olympics. He helped to make a real difference to their preparations for international sporting competitions, and experienced being part of each of the athletes' individual journeys. The first athlete sponsored was Liverpool heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson.
Wells also created 'Athletes4Schools,' which ran from 2009 up until the London 2012 Olympics, inspiring over 35,000 children. This initiative involved many of the 18 elite athletes personally funded by Wells, visiting schools in various parts of the UK to deliver free, fun and educational workshops. The charity also supported sports clubs and schools with grants of up to £2,000 to fund initiatives that increased participation in sport. This also ended in 2012 when the charities second scheme 'Box4Kids' took over.
The Box4Kids scheme provides a once in a lifetime opportunity for seriously ill children to enjoy a VIP day at major sporting and entertainment events across the UK from the luxury of an executive box. The initiative has attracted many major Premier League football clubs, Rugby League, Rugby Union, Tennis, Formula One, Cricket and Horse Racing venues to donate their executive boxes at least once per year. Along with major entertainment arenas, such as Wembley, O2 Arena, the Royal Albert Hall and other individual companies and businesses all coming on board to support the scheme.
Sponsored athletes and programmes
- Heptathlon: Jessica Ennis-Hill, Katarina Johnson-Thompson "(Patron)"
- Modern pentathlon: Sam Weale, Freyja Prentice
- Track & Field: Holly Bleasdale, Dai Greene, Jenny Meadows, Michael Rimmer, Matty Shirling, Stephanie Twell, Jodie Williams
- Swimming: Anne Bochmann, Caitlin McClatchey, Hannah Miley, Lizzie Simmonds, Liam Tancock
- Gymnastics: Beth Tweddle
- Triathlon: Adam Bowden, Mark Buckingham, Matthew Gunby, Katie Hewison, Emma Pallant
- British Triathlon's new talent identification programme, trigold, presently covering: Adam Bowden, Charlotte Roach and Katie Ingram
- "Barrie Wells helps promising stars in quest for gold at London Olympics". The Times. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
- James Pearce (3 December 2009). "Bootle-born millionaire Barrie Wells invests £2million in Olympic glory". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
- "The Founder, Barrie Wells". Wells Sports Foundation. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
- Ollie Williams (14 December 2010). "Catching up with the not-so-secret millionaire". BBC News. Archived from the original on 25 January 2011. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
- Alder Hey Charity. "Meet our supporters" Archived 31 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine., Liverpool 2013. Retrieved on 23 June 2014.
- "London 2012 hopefuls boosted by deep pockets of multi-millionaire Barrie Wells". Daily Telegraph. 26 November 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
- "Barrie Wells: 2012 hopeful's secret millionaire". Daily Express. 26 November 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
- "TriGold". British Triathlon. Archived from the original on 13 June 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2010.