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James Dyson named richest in West Country in Sunday Times Rich List

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 16, 2014

  • Sir James Dyson tops the region's rich list, with a fortune of more than £3 billion amassed from his pioneering engineering work

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Sir James Dyson, the man behind the bagless vacuum cleaner, is the richest person in the South West, according to The Sunday Times Rich List 2014.

With his fortune stable at £3 billion this year, he is one of 104 British billionaires to be included in this year's Sunday Times Rich List, which is published in a special 116-page edition of The Sunday Times Magazine on May 18.

The top 21 in the South West are worth £14.329 billion collectively.

Dyson is currently in the process of doubling the size of his research facility in Wiltshire.

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One of his latest inventions, the Airblade Tap, a combined tap and hand dryer, took 125 engineers four years and £40 million to develop. Dyson created 5,127 prototypes of his dual-cyclone vacuum cleaner before he perfected it.

He recently pledged £20 million to his James Dyson Foundation, with £8 million of that sum being gifted to the University of Cambridge to improve its engineering facilities.

The men behind the Hargreaves Lansdown financial adviser are clearly in no need of financial advice themselves.

Peter Hargreaves and Steve Lansdown are ranked second and third in the South West wealth stakes with fortunes of £2.39 billon and £1.45 billion respectively.

Hargreaves, who is based in Somerset, recently stepped down as chief executive of Hargreaves Lansdown but retains a £2.24 billion stake in the business.

Last December he gifted shares in the operation worth just under £1 million to charity. Lansdown owns League One football club Bristol City and Bristol Rugby Club through his Bristol Sport operation.

In March he sold £200 million of shares in Hargreaves Lansdown.

Another new billionaire in the region, who has seen his wealth more than double in the past year, is Chris Dawson, the man behind The Range discount chain, which will soon have more than 100 outlets nationwide.

His wealth has climbed from £585 million last year to £1.28 billion this year, a gain of £695 million in 12 months. The stores are expected to make an £88 million profit this year.

Retail success has also propelled Julian Dunkerton back up the South West Rich List.

The Superdry brand can now be found on most high streets but it began with Dunkerton selling clothes in London from bin bags after he borrowed £2,000 from his father to start the business.

SuperGroup is based in Cheltenham and Dunkerton's stake in the business is worth £445 million today.

Dunkerton's overall wealth of £478 million ranks him eighth in the region after a £281 million gain in the past 12 months, up 143 per cent.

The 26th annual Sunday Times Rich List – the definitive guide to wealth in Britain and Ireland – is published on May 18. The list is based on identifiable wealth, including land, property, other assets such as art and racehorses, or significant shares in publicly quoted companies. It excludes bank accounts, to which the paper has no access.

The Sunday Times Rich List 2014 is compiled by Philip Beresford, the leading authority on British wealth, and edited by Ian Coxon.

The South West rich list

Sir James Dyson and family £3,000m

Peter Hargreaves £2,390m

Steve Lansdown £1,450m

Chris Dawson £1,280m

Lord Vestey and family £720m

Christina Ong and family £602m

Sir David McMurtry £559m

Julian Dunkerton £478m

Tom Singh and family £430m

Charlotte Townshend £410m

Andrew Nisbet and family £357m

Harry Hyams £312m

Barry Houghton £310m

Bruce Craig £300m

Geoffrey Kent £273m

John Deer £268m

Andrew Brownsword £260m

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  • StanStill  |  May 17 2014, 6:21AM

    Is this the same Dyson who took millions from HMG for R & D, then sacked 300 workers and bogged off to Malaysia to fill his coffers. Thats ethical for you, isn't it.

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