Simon Wakely was educated at Haileybury College, Hertford, and Queens' College, Cambridge. Simon worked in the diamond trade from 1969 to 1990 before joining The Duke of Edinburgh's Award International Foundation as Director of the World Fellowship, responsible for recruiting major donors. In 1999 he was involved in setting up a new charity, Friends of Africa, to help young Africans develop sustainable livelihoods. From 2007 he was also providing fundraising and administrative services for Pestalozzi Overseas Children's Trust and remains an Advisory Director. He retired in January 2013.