The Cheshire Life Glitz List 2014
PUBLISHED: 00:00 19 August 2014
Celebrities, business people and long-standing residents who put the gloss on the Cheshire lifestyle
Iqbal Ahmed OBE
Born in Bangladesh, Iqbal Ahmed is the chairman and chief executive of the multinational Seamark Group of companies, which has a group turnover of $400m and is the UK’s leading importer and processor of shrimps.
He now plays a part in creating new prosperity in the country from whence he came. Iqbal is chairman of the new NRB Bank, dedicated to investment in Bangladesh.
Iqbal is one of Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs. He has been winning major business plaudits since the 1990s, including a Queen’s Award for Export Achievement, and was given an OBE for services to international trade in 2001.
In 2006, Seamark spent £12m on new headquarters in east Manchester, including the fabulous Vermillion restaurant and cocktail lounge Cinnabar.
Seamark’s business runs to its own deep-sea fishing fleet in the Bay of Bengal, purpose-built processing plant in Manchester and a distribution operation in New York. It has a global workforce of 4,500 people and has a range of products used by chefs and found in supermarkets across the world.
Iqbal has served on a host of government committees and advisory bodies and is involved in charitable works in the UK and Bangladesh. He is married with three children and lives in a beautiful home in Wilmslow.
Michael Oglesby CBE
Michael Oglesby, chairman of the Bruntwood Group, began building what became a business empire in 1976. It is now one of the leading property owners in the north of England.
Since 2000, he has left day to day running of the company to his son Chris, turning his attention to a range of philanthropic and public service roles, including chairmanship of the Oglesby Charitable Trust, which gives away around £1m a year to support activities which improve well-being in the north west.
Michael is also chairman of the steering board for Manchester Cancer Research Centre, and is involved with a host of other business and arts bodies. The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, founded by Michael, is one of the most nation’s prestigious competitions encouraging new drama.
Michael - who has served as High Sheriff and Vice Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester - was born in Scunthorpe and now lives in Bowdon with his wife Jean.
There are fortunes to be made from the machinery which makes the internet possible. The proof of that is Lawrence Jones’s UKFast, a technology company specialising in cloud hosting, which last year had record revenues of £23m and pre-tax profits of £8.2m.
Lawrence, who lives in Hale Barns, became fascinated by the business possibilities of the internet when he took a time-out from work, aged 30, in New York. His first business venture had been The Music Design Company, providing entertainment and event organisation.
After that time-out in New York, Lawrence launched thegallery.com, a website allowing artists to showcase material online, and, with his girlfriend Gail - now his wife and business partner - then moved on to found UKFast.
The company has recently moved to UKFast Campus on the edge of Manchester Science Park, where Lawrence has spent millions creating an extraordinary office space that includes a gym, sauna, crèche, indoor Japanese-style garden and pond and 200-seat auditorium that is offered free of charge to businesses and community groups.
It’s a tough job being a WAG. It’s not all shopping trips and magazine shoots. To avoid being seen as a mere clothes horse, the spouse of a rich-as-Midas football hero needs to carve out her own niche in the world.
We say Coleen Rooney, a Liverpudlian living in Prestbury, has done just that. There was, of course, a precedent set, just down the road in Alderley Edge, some years ago. David and Victoria Beckham combined glamour, family values and entrepreneurial nous into a megastar force greater than the sum of their considerable parts.
Now, Wayne may lack David’s off-pitch charisma, and Coleen did not come to WAGdom fresh from a career as a pop star, but she has matured in the public eye, is an undoubted style icon to the ordinary woman (her association with Littlewoods goes back four years) and she is an honest ambassador for family values. Her Twitter feed is full of adoring pictures of sons Kai and Klay and supportive messages about Him Indoors, in among retweeted messages from delighted buyers of her clothes collection.
Carole Nash OBE
What is the connection between the howl of a motorcycle engine and the hush of a classical music recital room? Carole Nash is the Cheshire woman who created a market-leading motorcycle insurance company, and is now a philanthropist supporting the likes of the Halle Orchestra, Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music, where a recital room is named in her honour.
Born in Blackpool and raised in Manchester, Carole launched an insurance consultancy in 1985 from the dining table of her home in Timperley. Within 12 years, she had become the leading name in motorcycle insurance, going on to launch in Dublin too.
In 2006, Carole, who lives in Bowdon, sold the company to the UK arm of French insurance mutual Groupama, by which time her firm employed 300 people at its Altrincham headquarters, its repair centre and Dublin arm, and provided insurance for 250,000 motorcycles – about a quarter of all licensed machines.
The wife of former Manchester United and Everton star Phil Neville is an entrepreneur in her own right. But her business career was forged in adversity.
Ten years ago, the couple’s daughter Isabella was born prematurely at 28 weeks, and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Julie herself went from one life-threatening illness to another, spending two years fighting to regain her health. Reluctant to take medication for the rest of her life, Julie then decided to seek out foods and natural products to address the various conditions she suffered, including an underactive thyroid. She began to feel better, and within six months had stopped taking her medication.
This voyage of discovery then translated, in 2011, into an online business, Win Naturally, selling the products which had helped Julie, and then a shop in the Trafford Centre.
Phil, now a coach for Manchester United, and Julie live in Hale, and are patrons of the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity.
Harry Styles, the One Direction heartthrob from Holmes Chapel is arguably the most eligible young man in the world.
Not only is he the most adored member of the world’s most adored band. At the tender age of 20, Harry is also, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, worth around £14m.
All the more remarkable to recall that he and colleagues Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson were cobbled into a band from the rejects among the solo contenders in 2010’s X Factor.
Three albums into their career, 1D have achieved that rare distinction of topping the chart on both sides of the Atlantic, not to mention Canada, Australia, New Zealand and great swathes of Europe, Asia and Africa. They now command full houses at venues such as Wembley Stadium.
All of which would explain how this alumnus of Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School has almost 21m followers on Twitter. It was at this school that Harry made his first foray into the entertainment world as front man of a band called White Eskimo.
There is no film role more glamorous than James Bond. And there has been no James Bond (with the exception of Sean Connery) who has filled that role more magnificently than Daniel Craig.
Daniel was born in 1968 in Chester, his dad Tim a merchant seaman who later became landlord of the Ring O’ Bells pub in Frodsham, his mother Olivia an art teacher. After the couple parted, Daniel lived with his mother in Liverpool (he’s still a Liverpool FC fan) and then Hoylake. His acting debut was in a Frodsham Primary School production of Oliver! and he graduated from school plays to the National Youth Theatre. Parts in TV drama Our Friends In The North, and movies Road To Perdition and Layer Cake paved the way to him becoming the sixth Bond.
He now lives in London’s Primrose Hill and is married to actress Rachel Weisz.
What with revelations about his investment in a tax avoidance scheme, Gary Barlow OBE will surely regard 2014 as an annus horribilis.
But this is, one trusts, a mere wrinkle in the long road he has travelled to his status as a national treasure. A beloved entertainer, man and boy, Frodsham’ s own Gary has organised fund-raising concerts for the Prince’s Trust and Children In Need, led an expedition of celebs up Mount Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief, penned a song with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and organised the star-studded Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace in June 2012.
Boy band turned man band, Take That remain one of the biggest concert draws this country has ever known, and Gary has been a prime-time TV fixture for three years as an X Factor judge. He is still one of Cheshire’s most famous sons and, just like the Queen, will survive his annus horribilis.
As the presenter of Radio 2’s breakfast show, Chris Evans is, like a previous incumbent of that slot Terry Wogan, a witty raconteur who appeals to a wide range of listeners.
It wasn’t always that way for the Warrington-born broadcaster. In the wild years of his tenure of the Radio 1 breakfast show in the 1990s, Chris’s unpredictability and his busy social life seemed like it may be his undoing.
It was the acquisition of Virgin Radio by his Ginger Media Group, and the subsequent sale of GMG in 2000 that made Chris one of the wealthiest entertainers in Britain.
His DJ’ing talents returned to the BBC in 2005, and he has been a mainstay of Radio 2 ever since.
Not bad for someone who left Padgate High School at the age of 16, and had his first big break as assistant to Timmy Mallett at Manchester’s Piccadilly Radio.
The Arora brothers
The success of the B&M budget retail chain has been nothing less than epic. And behind that success stands three brothers from Sale: Simon, Bobby and Robin Arora.
B&M began life as a single store in Blackpool in 1978, and the company was bought by Simon and Bobby in 2004. They started expanding just as the worst recession in living memory meant the firm’s low prices and variety - homeware, food, drink, toys, DIY goods - were just what consumers wanted.
B&M moved into stores vacated by the likes of Glyn Webb DIY, Kwik Save, Woolworth’s and Focus DIY. By 2010, B&M had a new head office and distribution centre in Speke, and in 2013, one of the world’s leading private equity funds Clayton, Dubilier and Rice took a significant stake in B&M, with former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy joining the board.
Today, B&M Retail has 370 high street stores and counting, and employs 17,000 staff. As the company prepares to join the Stock Market, B&M is seeking a valuation of well in excess of £2billion.
John Timpson CBE
These days, John Timpson dishes out ‘straight-talking common sense from the front line of management’ in his Telegraph column. He knows of which he speaks. He joined the family footwear business in 1970, moved the company into shoe repairing and key-cutting and presided over an expansion to today’s 1,218 stores throughout the UK.
Timpson has provided training and job opportunities for ex-offenders (John’s son James, the firm’s chief executive, received the OBE for services to training for disadvantaged people). A £3m investment to build the Oyster Catcher restaurant at Rhosneigr, Anglesey, is giving work to young people in a place where opportunities are scarce.
A staunch supporter of the AfterAdoption charity, John and wife Alex have fostered around 90 children in the course of over 30 years at their Tarporley home.
Michael Oliver OBE
Michael Oliver launched Oliver Valves with a single product in 1979, working from the garage of his home in Hale. In the year to September 30 2013, Knutsford-based Oliver Valves boasted revenues of over £76m, with even more ambitious targets set for the current year. It is one of the leading manufacturers of needle and ball valves, supplying major energy projects everywhere in the world.
Hale-born Michael left school at 15 without qualifications and served an apprenticeship at engineering company David Brown, later working in the USA for the likes of Ford .
His love of great engineering fuels a passion for classic cars, his huge collection including a Bugatti Veyron, five Rolls-Royces, several Bentleys, two F1 cars and an ultra-rare Ferrari 275 GTB/ 4 Cam.
More of Michael’s money goes on philanthropy, supporting such causes as Manchester’s Wood Street Mission, the Variety Club and The Army Benevolent Fund, Michael launched the Oliver Foundation to help those caring for family or friends in Cheshire.
A beach in Bali provided the inspiration for a business plan which is now a big success in Cheshire. Chloe Moss went travelling in Asia, aged 21, and encountered a woman beading intricate silver bracelets.
She got in contact with silversmiths in Bali, drew up designs and launched ChloBo, Chloe’s jewellery business, in Chester, the city where she was born.
Chloe’s jewellery has been seen adorning some of the most photographed of women, including supermodel Elle McPherson, Coleen Rooney and Cheryl Cole.
Her collections - stackable charm bracelets, rock-chick Rosary necklaces, rings and earrings, in Sterling Silver, gold-plate and rose gold plate - are available in dozens of boutiques and jewellers, and the business now employs 20 people at a studio in Chester.
Interior designer and property developer Dawn Ward and husband, ex-footballer Ashley make up the power couple whose annual Crème de la Crème ball is the invitation the Cheshire glitterati wish to get.
The setting for the ball is the couple’s mansion in Great Warford, and the guest list usually includes a squad of Premier League footballers and wives, a cast of soap stars and other entertainers. Many of those guests have also been clients of the couple’s property business. For instance, it was the Wards’ firm which oversaw the building of Wayne and Coleen Rooney’s home in Prestbury.
That ball, which has run annually since 2009, earned a spectacular £130,000 last year for the charity Caudwell Children, which helps disabled children and their families.
This year, the nation’s best-loved horse race was, for the first time, known as the Crabbie’s Grand National, with its richest-ever prize pot of £1m.
Crabbie’s ginger beer is one of the brands of Halewood International, the Huyton-based firm which has grown, since 1978, into the UK’s largest independent drinks manufacturer and distributor with a turnover in excess of £270m, and worldwide workforce of over a thousand.
Judy Halewood took the reins of Halewood International after the death of the company’s founder, her partner John Halewood at his home in Hatton Heath, Cheshire, three years ago.
Sponsoring the Grand National was more than just a hard business decision. Judy trained Harley, the horse which finished 12th in the 1991 National, and, after meeting John, saw their horse Amberleigh House run to victory in the 2004 race.
The football crowd
If the Golden Triangle of Wilmslow, Alderley Edge and Prestbury means anything to those outside Cheshire it means footballers and their wives/girlfriends.
That perception was cemented in the years when David and Victoria Beckham made a family home in Alderley Edge. But it remains true today that beautiful countryside, posh shops and restaurants, a profusion of properties made for millionaires’ pockets and an easy commute to Manchester, Liverpool, or even Stoke make the choice of Cheshire a no-brainer for our footie folk.
Wayne Rooney and wife Coleen are in that Golden Triangle, as is Joe Hart, the Manchester City and England goalkeeper, City teammate Vincent Kompany, Rio Ferdinand - who has just ended a 12-year career with Manchester United - United’s Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley, and Everton midfielder Gareth Barry.
Sir Alex Ferguson is not for leaving Cheshire. A year after his 26-year career as Manchester United manager came to an end, he and wife Cathy, Lady Ferguson - who both hail from Glasgow - still call Wilmslow home.
The Duke of Westminster has for many years been one of the nation’s wealthiest men, topping the Sunday Times Rich List three times in the days before billionaires from all over the globe began making their homes in the UK.
Home is Eaton hall, near Chester, but the Grosvenor family wealth comes from a 17th century acquisition of 500 acres of land in London, later developed as Mayfair, Belgravia and Pimlico.
Lord and Lady Ashbrook keep one of the great houses of Cheshire, Arley Hall at Northwich. The family’s connection with this part of Cheshire goes back five and a half centuries, to when the first hall was built in 1469.
Sir William and Lady Bromley-Davenport are incumbents of another great Cheshire home, Capesthorne Hall at Siddington. Their family tree has roots which can be traced back to just after the Norman Conquest.
And not forgetting...
Peter Jones OBE is chairman of The Emerson Group, one of the UK’s largest privately-owned property firms, building homes and commercial developments at home and abroad. The company is based in Alderley Edge. Peter, aged 79, founded the company in 1959, and was awarded the OBE for services to business earlier this year.
Mark Boler, aged 42, is chief executive of The Mere Golf Resort and Spa, the playground of so many of the Cheshire set. The resort has been the subject of a £15m redevelopment in recent years. Mark lives in Alderley Edge and is one of Marketing Cheshire’s ambassadors for the county.
Frank Cohen made his money through home improvement empire Glyn Webb, and invested it in modern art, earning the nickname ‘Saatchi of the North’. Now rivalling Saatchi in the south, with his involvement in the Dairy Art Centre in London’s Bloomsbury, Frank had a home in Prestbury built in the style of Bauhaus architect Mies van der Rohe.
Anthony Preston launched Pets At Home in Chester in 1991. It was sold to private equity firm KKR in 2010 for £955m, and floated earlier this year, valued at £1.2billion. Anthony is now involved with Palatine Private Equity, is non-executive chairman of local nursery chain Kids Allowed and a trustee of Cheshire Community Foundation.