Peter Boizot, founder of Pizza Express and inspired fundraiser for Venice in Peril, has died aged 89
A year after he founded Pizza Express the devastating Acqua Alta of 1966 inspired an international response to safeguard the city. Peter's idea was to devise a special pizza, the Veneziana, with a Venetian style 'saor' topping. From the sale of each pizza, a donation of first 5p and later 25p has been given ever since to Venice in Peril for its conservation projects and campaigns in Venice.
In his autobiography he said that the Pizza Veneziana was his 'proudest working achievement'. It is certainly one of the oldest and most effective relationships between business and charity and many people hear about our work for the first time when they eat at a Pizza Express restaurant, so it has done a huge amount to raise awareness.
In the early days Peter was particularly involved with projects like the conservation of the capitals of the Doges' Palace. Later a special Veneziana Fund was set up to receive and disburse the funds from Pizza Express and nowadays these form a vital element in the funding of each of our projects.
As Jonathan Keates, Chairman of Venice in Peril has said, 'Peter Boizot was a steadfast supporter of Venice in Peril, whose 'Pizza Express' enterprise has contributed so much in terms of funding to our activities over many years. Our work has benefited enormously from his generosity and loyalty, for which we continue to be extremely grateful'.