Debbie Lye

Debbie is Chief Executive of Spirit of 2012, an independent trust founded the Big Lottery Fund. She has previously worked as a teacher of English, a civil servant and at UK Sport.
Debbie Lye

Since September 2013 Debbie has been Chief Executive of Spirit of 2012, an independent trust founded the Big Lottery Fund. Spirit invests to increase individual and social wellbeing and improve perceptions and attitudes towards disabled people by supporting inclusive participation in sport, the arts and volunteering.

Debbie started her career in Rochdale as a teacher of English. She wrote and edited educational publications and served on the judging panel of the WH Smith Young Writers’ Awards. She later joined the Civil Service where she worked first in the Department for Education, and subsequently as Head of School and Community Sport Policy in the Department for Media, Culture & Sport.

As UK Sport International Development Director, Debbie led the design and delivery of International Inspiration (2007-14), the international London 2012 sport and social legacy programme which reached 25 million young people across 21 countries, in partnership with the British Council, UNICEF and the British Olympic and Paralympic Associations. 

Outside work Debbie plays tennis, and enjoys reading, walking and choral singing. She has three children and a grand-daughter. Joining Spirit has enabled Debbie to combine her belief in the power of culture and sport as agents for change with her lifelong commitment to young people’s development.