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Hilary Devey's Biography

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Hilary Devey was a businesswoman who featured on Channel Four's The Secret Millionaire, and, in 2010, she became Channel Five's Business Inspector.

In 2011 Hilary Devey became one of the 'dragons' on BBC Two's Dragons' Den.

Her father, who had owned a central heating company that went bankrupt, was also a publican based in Bolton.

Hilary Devey left school at 16.

Devey briefly worked in the WRAF, and was a national sales manager for TNT, before becoming a freelance marketing consultant for the haulage industry.

In 1995, after 20 years in the logistics and distribution business, she had an idea that would kick start her business and transform commercial transport.

Commercial vehicles that had previously been empty after delivering would now, through regional hubs, drop off their deliveries and then swap consignments for their home areas.

The banks refused to fund her venture and so she sold her house and car, to raise the start-up finance by herself.

On 29 November 1996, Hilary Devey launched Pall-Ex from a disused RAF hangar in Leicestershire. It grew to become the number one palletised freight distribution network in the UK.

Hilary Devey won the 2007 Ernst & Young UK Business Services Entrepreneur Award and was a finalist in the 2008 NatWest EveryWoman of the Year Awards. She was also a runner-up in the 2006 Veuve Cliquot awards.

Hilary Devey became known to a wider audience through Channel 4's The Secret Millionaire, in which she gave away £145,000 to support projects on the Falinge estate in Rochdale, Lancashire, notably The Back Door Music Project.

In 2009, Devey had a stroke.

In March 2010 Hilary Devey hosted the Channel Five series The Business Inspector, in which she aimed to help struggling businesses.

Hilary Devey was one of the millionaires featured in the book How I Made My First Million by Tammy Cohen.

In May 2009, The Mail published a lengthy article about Hilary Devey's personal life, her son Mevlitt, and his father Hussein.

In February 2011, the BBC announced that Hilary Devey would be one of the 'dragons' in the next series of Dragons' Den, joining Peter Jones, Theo Paphitis, Duncan Bannatyne and Deborah Meaden.

However, in June 2012, it was revealed that Hilary Devey would appear in one more series of Dragons' Den before moving over to Channel Four, where she was to present a series entitled The Intern.

On 14 June 2013, it was announced that she had been awarded a CBE for services to the transport industry and to charity.

She had three short-lived marriages. Towards the end of her life, she had five homes, including a mansion in Derbyshire.

In 2022, Hilary Devey died at her home in Morocco, after a long illness.

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