Petra Ecclestone, philanthropist, was born in December 1988, younger sister to Tamara, daughter to Formula 1 mogul Bernie and his Croatian wife Slavica.
She grew up and was educated in London. Her mother kept the family’s feet on the ground insisting that there were no nannies or help at home.
At 14, Petra became severely ill with Viral Meningitis. It was a frightening time for her and her family, proving to be pivotal in Petra’s life. Since recovering, for many years, Petra has been quietly supporting the charity Meningitis Now, delivering petitions to 10 Downing Street to urge for wider access to vaccines, funding all the Meningitis awareness cards included in every birth pack and University ‘freshers’ packs across the UK.
A young lady with effortless creative flair, at 18 years old Petra was offered a place at the prestigious Central St Martin’s School in London. However, having inherited a strong business ethic, Petra declined the place and decided, at 19, to start her first business, a high-end menswear line FORM. Selling out in its first season at Harrods, Petra looked to expand internationally however, in light of the global economic downturn, it soon became evident that the demand for a new brand was not there and FORM was unsustainable.
She then launched STARK, a luxury handbag range, which successfully retailed across the UK and USA.
She married in 2011 and in 2013 gave birth to a daughter and then twin boys in 2015. Petra has since divorced.
Several years ago Petra discovered, when her daughter had a learning delay, the most advanced and effective treatments in America. Returning to London she struggled to find anything near the same level and waiting lists were extremely lengthy. She resolved to find out more, working with the UK’s leading autism expert Professor Simon Baron Cohen, to create a solution for parents desperate to help their children.
In November 2018, Petra Ecclestone launched her early intervention centre for children with autism and related conditions, Petra’s Place. Children will now be treated at the centre, means dependent, some children’s treatment will be funded wholly by Petra’s foundation.
It is Petra’s ambition to open centres across Britain.
Petra and her team are in talks with the NHS and local council seeking funding for the therapies to allow her to dedicate funds from her Foundation to open more centres nationally.