A FORMER Crediton school student, Laura Coryton, last week received her MBE for services to charitable campaigning from Anne, Princess Royal, at a ceremony at Windsor Castle.

The British Ceremonial Arts Ltd film about Laura Coryton receiving her MBE at Windsor Castle

Laura (31), who attended Queen Elizabeth’s School before studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and the University of Oxford, was named as an award recipient in the King’s New Year Honours List.

During the Investiture, Ann, Princess Royal with Laura Coryton
During the Investiture, Anne, Princess Royal with Laura Coryton (British Ceremonial Arts Ltd)

Whilst at Goldsmiths she started the campaign to cut taxes on period products.

This began with an online petition on Change.org and which grew to amass thousands of signatures and global recognition. 

Laura explained: "Starting and running the tampon tax petition for 10 years has been an incredible honour, and it was amazing for our efforts to be recognised last week at Windsor Castle.

“Thanks to the 320,000 people who signed my petition, we ended tampon tax and successfully convinced the government to establish the Tampon Tax Fund, through which almost £100m was donated to female-focused charities.

"I'm really proud of how far we've come, and thankful for all the support including from my friends and teachers at QE and Crediton!"

Laura Coryton receiving her honour from Anne, the Princess Royal.
Laura Coryton receiving her honour from Anne, the Princess Royal. (British Ceremonial Arts)

Previously Laura said: “My teachers and friends at QE taught me many lifelong skills central to campaigning, including creativity, perseverance, the importance of staying curious and standing up for what you believe in.

“They gave me the confidence I needed to embrace failure rather than fear it. As a result, I’ve been able to make a larger positive impact than I ever imagined.”

After Laura was announced as an award recipient, QE School said it was “fabulous recognition of working tirelessly on a campaign that she feels so passionately about”.

The spokesperson added: “We are delighted for Laura. It is a great example of what determination and tenacity can achieve.”

Laura is the founder of Stop Taxing Periods, a campaign to abolish the Tampon Tax in the UK and make menstrual products exempt from VAT.  She runs the Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) social enterprise Sex Ed Matters.

Her first book “Speak Up!”, a campaign guide for rebel girls, was published in the UK in 2019, the USA in 2022 and it has also been translated into French.

Laura added that she hoped the honour would help her shine a light on the work that still needs to be done to tackle period stigma and misunderstandings of consent across the UK.

Laura lived in Crediton with her twin sister Julia and parents Tracy and Demitri.

For her social enterprise, Laura won Innovate UK's £12,000 Young Innovator Award in 2023 and its £50,000 Unlocking Potential Award in 2024.

She has also spoken about the importance of sex education in tackling incel culture and empowering young people at many high profile events.