Lord and Lady Sainsbury

The Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy - 2008 Honourees

Through the Linbury Trust, Lord and Lady Sainsbury have provided grants to arts organisations totalling more than £22 million in the last decade alone.

To list the recipients of the Trust's generosity is to compile a who's who of British cultural excellence: the Tate Gallery, the Ashmolean Museum, the National Gallery, the Rambert Ballet School, and creating the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House to name but a few. The Linbury Trust sponsors both a stage Design award, the Linbury Biennial Prize, and a theatrical award, the Jocelyn Herbert Prize. And all this is without taking into account the vast sums donated to other causes such as education, the environment, medicine, and Developing countries.

It is natural to honour them in the first year of the medal, because of their wide ranging generosity in Britain. The Sainsburys' are passionate about the arts in all its many forms. Both are avid theatre, opera and ballet goers; Anya Linden was, of course, once a principal dancer for the Royal Ballet, and still has close ties with that organisation. John Sainsbury served on the board of the Royal Opera House for 20 years, four of them as chairman.

Lord and Lady Sainsbury visit the arts each and every week. They see all the shows they can. Like many here, their hearts are in the cultural vibrancy of these islands. Philanthropy in a true sense is about passion - because there is nothing any organisation can do in return that could measure up to their generosity, apart from what they are there to do - create inspiring and life affirming work.

The Sainsburys have the long view for the arts - that is what is so fundamental, so exciting and what we are all here to honour today