Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tycoon with a Big Heart; Entrepreneur Soaring Up the Region Rich List

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tycoon with a Big Heart; Entrepreneur Soaring Up the Region Rich List

Article excerpt

Byline: Sam Wood

GENEROUS businessman and television star Duncan Bannatyne is the region's biggest climber in the latest rich list, which was released yesterday.

The Dragon's Den entrepreneur has increased his fortune by a massive pounds 110m in the past 12 months according to the Sunday Times Rich List, taking his estimated worth to pounds 310m.

That extra fortune has shot him up to second among the North East's richest, from fourth last year, putting him above the Duke of Northumberland and Duncan Davidson, head of Persimmon Homes.

The 59-year-old, who runs a chain of fitness clubs, hotels and spas, has moved up nearly 100 places to 267 on the overall list, from 351 last year. That puts him only three places and pounds 10m behind the Queen.

In 1997, he sold his chain of nursing homes for pounds 26m.

The fortunes of tough-talking Dragons' Den judge Mr Bannatyne have increased despite him giving much of his wealth to charity. He has been involved in raising money for food aid for children in Malawi for many years.

Mr Bannatyne also made it into the Independent on Sunday's "happy 100 list" as someone who makes Britain a happier and nicer place to live. He has said the rich don't do enough for good causes and vowed he will continue to give a percentage of his wealth away.

The only man now above Mr Bannatyne in the North East's rich list is Mark Fenwick, although even their combined wealth would be dwarfed by that of Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley. Mr Ashley, who does not live in the region and so is not included in the regional table, is at number 54 nationally.

The sportswear retailer has dropped from 25th the previous year, his fortune now standing at pounds 1,398m.

Mr Fenwick is estimated to have increased his fortune by pounds 32m last year thanks to increased profits from his department stores. The 59-year-old chairs the Fenwick business and is thought to be worth pounds 386m.

But even that fortune saw him slide down the overall list from 213 to 232.

The Duke of Northumberland, 51, is now the region's third richest despite not increasing his wealth from last year. The landowner is trying to build homes near to Alnwick, Northumberland to boost his fortune. …

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