Cheshire Life Glitz List 2012
16:53 20 August 2012
Where does the wealth and influence lie in our county?
The Cheshire Life Glitz List shines the spotlight on individuals bringing wealth and glamour to the area.
The county has a reputation for WAGs and riches but you dont have to be part of the Cheshire set to be what sets Cheshire apart.
Some of the faces who feature on these pages are famous, some are top business people, others are old money aristocrats, but all are either people of affluence or influence, or even both.
Words by Carl Nagaitis
Duke of Westminster
The Duke of Westminster, whose family seat is at Eaton Hall near Chester, is a regular in the annual Sunday Times Rich List thanks to his huge property empire. In fact this year he slipped down the ranking despite the fact that his fortune has increased by a handsome 350 million.
Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, 60, still remains the seventh richest person in Britain down three places compared with the previous year. Nevertheless his Grosvenor Group property empire is valued at a staggering 7,350 million.
Grosvenor Estates owns vast stretches of land in Cheshire, Lancashire and Scotland as well as large areas of Mayfair and Belgravia in London.
Yet, despite the time-consuming duties and responsibilities associated with such a vast property investment, the Duke, a Major General with the Territorial Army, is an important benefactor to military charities.
Her Grace the Duchess of Westminster, the former Miss Natalia Ayesha Phillips, has transformed the Grosvenor family homes, substantially remodelling Eaton Hall to suit the demands of a younger family and being closely involved with a painstaking redesign of its formal gardens and park.
She shares her husbands commitment to supporting charities and has brought her energy and entrepreneurial flair to bear on a number of different charitable enterprises.
After winning countless plaudits in 2011 for creating the dress of the year for the Duchess of Cambridges fairytale wedding to Prince William, fashion designer Sarah Burton could have been forgiven for thinking it couldnt get any better.
However, 2012 looks like being equally significant for the Macclesfield-born former Withington Girls School pupil, who went on to become personal assistant to the late legendary designer Alexander McQueen before being appointed Creative Director following his death.
After rounding off 2011 by receiving the Designer of the Year Award in the British Fashion Awards, Sarah began the new year with the award of an honorary degree from Manchester Metropolitan University before being presented with an OBE in the Queens Birthday Honours List.
Sarah now lives in St Johns Wood with her fashion photographer husband David Burton.
He has been described as one of the worlds most influential and prolific collectors of contemporary art who began collecting modern British art, including works by L.S.Lowry, back in the 1970s. Manchester born and bred Frank Cohen, who made his fortune with a chain of do-it-yourself stores, later discovered Damien Hirst and through him a group of artists including Tracy Emin and Sarah Lucas who went on to achieve fame and in some cases fortune.
Today Frank - who at one time owned 37 Lowry works - lives in Wilmslow and has been devoting himself to collecting artwork since 1997. He was once quoted as saying:My business is art and I work seven days a week at it.
However when the pre-recession art boom pushed prices up, Cohens attention
switched away from young British, American and German artists to the up-and-coming unknowns in Japan, China and India. In fact he organised an exhibition of their work at the Manchester Art Gallery.
Mark Bolers entry in the Cheshire Life Glitz is not merely recognition of the drive and determination that has led to his undoubted success as co-owner and chief executive of Mere Golf Resort and Spa.
Its acknowledgement of his role as a member of one of the regions best-known business dynasties. In fact it was Marks late father Stephen Boler who acquired Mere more than a quarter of a century ago.
Mr Boler senior first made his fortune in the cut-price tyre and exhaust trade and later from a Manchester-based group whose brands included Moben Kitchens and Sharps bedrooms. He also played an important role in rescuing Manchester City in the 1980s by purchasing 30 per cent of the shares.
Mark, who was born in Crewe and educated at Millfield School in Somerset, took over from his father in 1994 and has since overseen considerable investment and refurbishment at Mere.
Earlier this year he and co-owner Gary Corbett hosted an exclusive dinner party to launch Meres new private dining room which was named after guest of honour, acclaimed Salford artist Harold Riley.
According to the pundits, Chester-born soccer legend Michael Owen is busy deciding which will be the next club to benefit from the skills that have taken him from Liverpool to Real Madrid onto Newcastle and then Manchester United. However the 32-year-old England veteran will have enough to keep him busy until he signs up.
The Manor House Stables complex at Malpas where he is a partner is gaining an impressive reputation in training circles and has grown to accommodate 90 horses.
When hes not at home in Hawarden, just over the border in Flintshire, where he famously bought all but one house in a street for his family including his parents, brothers and sister, he can often be found playing a round at Northop Golf Club. Golf is another sport at which he excels and the Club is conveniently close to his other home in Sychdyn, near Mold, where his blood stock use the surrounding fields.
Cheshires own Mr Loophole, Knutsford solicitor Nick Freeman who became a national name after enabling a galaxy of celebrities from David Beckham to Katie Price to escape conviction for driving offences, became an author this year.
The Art of the Loophole: Making the Law Work for You was published by Coronet in April and explains the celebrity lawyers unique approach to the law that has helped his clients - many of them high profile - to snatch victory in the courts even in the face of likely defeat.
However, although blessed with the masterful courtroom skills that have attracted famous clients including sporting legends Sir Alex Ferguson, Andrew Flintoff and Colin Montgomerie as well as stand-up comedy star Jimmy Carr, Mr Freeman decided he might need some help with his first book project. So he used a ghost writer.
Successful businesswoman, MBE and a former Channel 4 Secret Millionaire, Congletons Dawn Gibbins has been an extremely high-profile mover and shaker over recent years.
The daughter of inventor Peter Gibbins who set up and grew the incredibly successful flooring company Flowcrete into a multi-million pound business has been given countless titles to mark her achievements.
But today the woman dubbed International Businesswoman of the Year, Most Influential Woman in British Manufacturing and who was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for Business Administration has evolved into what some have described as a Philanthropreneur.
After many years as an entrepreneur, Dawn has changed her lifes focus and has managed to combine her proven business acumen with a passion for philanthropy. A keen volunteer who has sponsored and judged the North West Young Enterprise Awards and spent time working in a Nepalese orphanage, Dawn is committed to giving something back.
However, Congleton born and bred Dawn has another passion in life Feng Shui the Chinese practice of spatial positioning to promote natural energy flows. In fact she is an Ambassador for the Feng Shui Society.
Manchester music legend Peter Hooky Hook has been back in the headlines. The co-founder and bassist with iconic punk band Joy Division, which later reformed as New Order, has been busy being interviewed by the media about his views on the most recent re-incarnation of the band.
He told New Musical Express that he was convinced the new groups bass player had been miming his base line from a tape, while a spokesman for New Order denied using any of Hooks basslines in their show.
Some of Hooks fans used to describe his unique bass style as particularly melodic and rhythmic. However, Hook has confided that he developed those lines while playing with Joy Division because the speaker he used which he bought from a former art teacher for 10 was so poor he had to play high in order to hear what he was doing.
Michael Oliver, chairman and founder of Oliver Valves, the Cheshire-based manufacturer of valves used by energy companies worldwide, was recognised in the Queens Birthday Honours List with an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to the valve industry.
Having launched Oliver Valves in 1979 with a single product he has grown it in to a group with combined profits in excess of 15 million supplying major energy projects right around the globe.
Earlier this year Oliver Valvetek one of three companies in the Oliver Valves family received a prestigious Queens Award for Enterprise.
Mr Oliver is also known for his philanthropic work, supporting a wide range of charities locally, nationally and internationally. He recently established the Michael Oliver Foundation, which supports carers living in the Cheshire area. Mr Oliver said: I am deeply honoured to be recognised in this way by the Queen and I would like to thank all of the hard-working employees at Oliver Valves as well as my family, without whose dedication and support this success would not have been possible.
Mr Oliver is also known for this love of luxury cars. His collection includes several prestige models including Bentleys and Porsches.
Despite a double-dip recession and a pervading mood of doom and gloom, former Chorlton Grammar School pupil turned chairman of a Cheshire-based business Reisser really stood out from the crowd with a remarkably optimistic take on the economic outlook earlier this year.
When a journalist asked him for a view on the year ahead, the committed Manchester United fan who lives in Wilmslow with his wife, Dianne, said his business was buoyant and expanding.
He was totally optimistic about the future of the high performance woodscrew, ancillary products and power tools distributor with premises in Bramhall, Whaley Bridge and Southern Ireland.
Mr Ledigo joined Reisser as a sales agent when it was part of a German company but bought out the UK arm when it went out of business. It is now on track to turnover 12 million this year.
Away from business, Mr Ledigo loves to follow his football team and is a member of the Cheshire Life/Alderley Edge Hotel Champagne Oscars judging panel.
The Football Crowd
No Cheshire list of the rich and famous would be complete without a reference to that veritable team of footballers and their glamorous other halves (we will avoid the term WAGs) who make their homes in the county and bring a certain cachet - not to mention a boost to house prices in some quarters.
Chief football celebrity must be Sir Alex Ferguson who has managed Manchester United with a firm and dazzingly successful hand since 1986, most of that time living in Wilmslow. He has amassed more trophies than any other manager in the history of the English game, making him one of the true giants of the world of football.
But presiding over the Premiership now is Sir Alexs near neighbour, Roberto Mancini. The Italian who has led Manchester City to their new level of glory and confidence is now the highest paid manager in the English game. Wonder what Sir Alex thinks about that? Mancini, like the Reds boss, is clearly a hard-working disciplinarian. Both like good wine and dining and are occasionally seen in the best Cheshire and Manchester restaurants. However, their young charges who create the action on the pitch are regularly spotted in local bars and eateries.
Prestbury-based Reds ace Wayne Rooney and wife Coleen, love to get out and about, as do neighbours Rio Ferdinand, the Blues Mario Balotelli and plenty of their team-mates. Then there are one or two Liverpool players who prefer this neck of the woods too...
A life of luxury
You want a taste of the high life? We suggest you check out some of the places our Glitz List candidates may enjoy spending their money.
Words by Emma Mayoh
Where to eat
Alderley Restaurant, Alderley Edge Hotel
The food, service and hospitality at this landmark Cheshire hotel need no introduction. For years Cheshires elite have flocked to the classy and discreet Alderley three AA Rosette restaurant - which is in the national top ten per cent - for a chance to sample the fine cuisine prepared by the talented kitchen team.
The hotels recently opened Brasserie, which serves quality, retro dishes, is becoming popular with those who want a more informal dining experience.
This hotel is also the venue for one of the most glittering events on the social calendar, the Alderley Edge Hotel/Cheshire Life Champagne Oscars. The black tie event is held on the first Thursday of December.
Cheshires party-goers eagerly awaited the return of this quirky venue. Following a multi-million pound development, and a ten year-management deal with The Chester Grosvenor Hotel, Oddfellows has reopened with its own replica Valkerie aircraft wing, a giant urban fox and a potting shed bar.
The city venues popular garden area has been revamped and it also has a new restaurant concept. If you dont want to make the journey home, there are also more bedrooms in the Georgian Grade II listed building. A must-visit venue.
Riverhill Hotel and Restaurant, Oxton, Wirral
You will probably have to plan ahead for a visit to this Wirral hotel restaurant. Its headed up by former Masterchef The Professionals winner, Claire Lara and her husband, also a chef, Marc. Together they have come up with the perfect recipe for a continually packed restaurant the first one she ever worked in.
There is no wonder it has become so popular with the expert menus cooked up by Claire and Marc paired with comfortable surroundings and excellent service.
Where should you stay?
The Mere Golf Resort and Spa, Mere, Knutsford
This recently redeveloped luxury hotel, set in an impressive Victorian building, is a place to lounge and relax in style. As well as beautiful gardens and an impressive golf course, there are stunning guestrooms and suites as well as a choice of several restaurants offering a superb dining experience. The Mere Golf Resort and Spa is a place to see and be seen.
Nunsmere Hall, Oakmere
Nunsmere Hall, near the Delamere Forest, was once the venue for glittering parties attended by the great and the good of Edwardian England. And its original owners, the shipping magnate Sir Aubrey Brocklebank who designer Cunards Atlantic liner the Queen Mary, and wife, Lady Grace would no doubt be impressed with the hotel that exists today.
The classic Victorian mansion offers impeccable service as well as fine dining in the Crystal Restaurant.
Abode Chester, Chester
This stunning city centre hotel, the first new-build property in the Abode hotel portfolio, has gone from strength-to-strength. There are contemporary, high end bedrooms to lounge in and quality facilities to enjoy.
The Abodes centrepiece, The Michael Caines Restaurant, is on the fifth floor. It has wonderful views of the surrounding countryside, Chester Racecourse and the superb food the chef is known for.
Events to attend
Oulton Park, Little Budworth
The race calendar at Oulton Park is one that is well-supported by the Cheshire community. Its a place to relax and indulge in motorsports. It is the venue for some of the leading race meetings including the British Superbike Championship and the British Touring Car Championship. This month sees the arrival of the Oulton Park Gold Cup, an international event taking place on the Bank Holiday weekend. The circuit also hosts regular club racing events or you can even take a car for a spin around the circuit yourself as part of a driving experience.
Kelsall Hill Equestrian Centre, Kelsall
Organisers of this years Its Kelsall Hill equestrian event, which is affiliated to British Eventing, celebrated a record-breaking weekend earlier this year with riders facing challenges of dressage, show jumping and cross country.
But the event, hosted by the Kelsall Hill Equestrian Centre, was also a chance for people from horse riding families to socialise. Its Kelsall Hill 2 will be held this September with many of Cheshires prominent riders no doubt turning out to take part.
Chester Races, Chester
The great and the good of Cheshire get dressed up in their finery and head out to the many well-attended race day meets at Chester Racecourse. As well as enjoying a flutter on the horses, it is also a great opportunity to mingle and for the ladies, it offers the perfect excuse to buy a new hat.
Where should you live?
Prestbury, Wilmslow or Alderley Edge
These areas, fondly referred to collectively as Cheshires Golden Triangle, have long been known as one of the best locations in the country to live. Properties here come with a multi-million pound price-tag. In fact, the most expensive street outside southern England is Withinlee Road, also dubbed Footballers Alley, in Prestbury. Macclesfield Road in Alderley Edge is second on the list with Torkington Road in Wilmslow not far behind.
This wealthy suburban village, near Altrincham, is home to many stunning properties. A walk around the pretty area reveals why it is a place in demand. The tree-lined streets, lovely homes and handful of independent businesses offer a slower pace of life. But there is still the convenience of being near all of the major motorway networks and Manchester Airport as well as being within striking distance of Altrincham and Manchester city centre.
Those with money seeking the rural idyll head to Malpas. This picture postcard village on Cheshires border even has its own castle. The earthworks of Malpas Castle, which was one of those that protected the countys western borders from the Welsh, can still be found near to St Oswalds Church, a beautiful Grade I listed building built in the late 14th century. The village is also home to a thriving community with a busy events calendar including the successful Malpas Arts and Literary Festival.
Where should you shop?
The Editeur, Chester
This designer ladieswear newcomer in the centre of Chester offers high-end fashions from labels including Alice By Temperley, Maxmara and Fahri by Nicole Fahri. Everything from coats, dresses and jeans to lingerie, swimwear, bags and jewellery can be found in their beautiful boutique. Already establishing itself as one of the countys best fashion stores,
The Editeur is a one stop shop.
Si Belle, Tarporley
This wonderful independent boutique in Tarporleys High Street is filled with beautiful clothing from exclusive brands. You will be able to find something for any occasion. If you want even more choice in your retail experience, Si Belles sister shops, Cleopatra and Papillon, are located just a short walk down the street.
Jewellery from this iconic brand is worn by royalty and celebrities around the world. The company was founded in Liverpool as Boodle and Dunthorne in 1798. Centuries on it is still the first place to call for special, glamorous, one-off pieces of jewellery. The company also hosts many exclusive events around the world.
What should you drive?
Some may consider it a little frivolous and over the top. But if you have money to spare, the thought of taking your own speedboat out on the water on a summers day must be difficult to resist. Abersoch and stretches of the North Wales coastline are popular with Cheshire boat owners and its easy to see why. There they can enjoy spectacular views of beautiful beaches and historic buildings.
Bentley in Crewe is a car brand synonymous with luxury and style. No doubt there will be several Cheshire residents eager to buy the new Continental GT Speed coupe when it is released later this year. You may have to visit Oulton Park to test out the 205mph car but it will look equally as impressive slowly pulling through some of the countys villages and countryside.
Like Bentley, Rolls-Royce need no introduction. Models like the Phantom and the more recent Ghost have long been cars that many people long for. The Ghost, which has a V12 engine, may be the smaller brother of the Phantom, but jaws will still drop as you pass by. You can get behind the wheel yourself or behave
like a real high-roller and be
Where to shop for fabulous furniture?
Roche Bobois is considered one of the world leaders in luxury, contemporary furniture. The company, set up in 1950, works with talented designers to create new collections every six months. Many Cheshire residents will have visited the extensive showroom in Deansgate, Manchester, to find inspiring ideas on how to furnish their own homes with design classics.
Anyone worth their salt knows this leading international brand, begun here in Cheshire, is the place to go to for some of the most inspirational designs for the home. The company was founded in 1978 when designer Clive Christian, who grew up in the county, bought a manor house and began to refurbish it with bespoke furniture. He released his first design and the brand is now internationally renowned for its stunning interiors and perfume.
The interior design company has worked for everyone from Russian billionaires and film stars to Premiership footballers and the super rich and its name is associated with the highest standards and luxury. And it all started in Cheshire.
The company, run by Janine and Gideon Stone, still has an office in Altrincham as well as London, Moscow, Milan and New York and is responsible for helping people all over the world, including Cheshire, create their dream homes.