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Duncan Bannatyne

Date of Birth: Wednesday, February 02, 1949
AGE: 70
Occupation: Businessman

Biography: Duncan Walker Bannatyne, OBE is a British entrepreneur, philanthropist and author. His business interests include hotels, health clubs, spas, media, TV, stage schools, property and transport. He is most famous for his appearance as a business angel on the BBC programme Dragons? Den. He has written five books; Anyone Can Do It, which sold more than 250,000 copies, was followed by Wake Up and Change Your Life, How to be Smart With Your Money, How to be Smart With Your Time, then by 43 Mistakes Businesses Make. He was appointed as an OBE for his contribution to charity.

Bannatyne was told by his mother that, because of the family?s lack of money, he could not have a bicycle. To amend the problem he asked the local newsagents if he could have a paper round job and was told he could have one if he could get a list of 100 interested people. Bannatyne knocked on 150 doors to create that list of one hundred customers. Armed with this list, he received the job and, months later, a second-hand bike.

In 1964 and at the age of 15, Bannatyne volunteered for twelve years with the Royal Navy as a junior second class engineering mechanic (stoker) at RNTE Shotley near Ipswich, better known as the boys? training establishment HMS Ganges. He served in the Navy for several years before receiving a dishonourable discharge for attempting to throw an officer off a boat landing jetty in Scotland. In his biography he claims this was in part a reaction to this officer?s abuse of his authority, in part a dare by his shipmates and in part a way of getting out of the Navy, with which he had become disillusioned. Bannatyne was nineteen years old when this happened. After the incident he had to serve eighteen months in Colchester military detention centre before being discharged aged 20. He later spent ten days in Glasgow?s Barlinnie prison for not paying a 10 fine in relation to a charge of breach of the peace and resisting arrest.

After spending his twenties moving from one job to another, Bannatyne lived for a few years on the island of Jersey where he met his first wife. With a difficult business climate for outsiders, at age 29 Bannatyne and his wife moved to Stockton-on-Tees in North East England. He has stated that he was penniless and did not have a bank account until the age of 30.

His business career began almost immediately after his move to Stockton-on-Tees with an ice cream van purchased for 450. He soon expanded by buying more vans during the period of the Glasgow Ice Cream Wars about which he made comment in a newspaper interview "I got by using the CB radio. It was mainly bluster, but someone did get hospitalised." He eventually sold the business for 28,000, founding a nursing home business called Quality Care Homes which he then sold for 46 million in 1997 and children?s nursery chain Just Learning for 22 million.

He has since expanded into health clubs, with Bannatyne?s Health Clubs chain to his name, and also bars, hotels and property. He acquired twenty two health clubs from Hilton Hotels at a price of 92 million. Bannatyne?s is now the largest independent chain of health clubs in the United Kingdom. In May 2010, he added the Charlton House Hotel and Spa in Somerset to the portfolio, with the view to adding more spa facilities and treatment rooms.

In October 2008 he opened the 12 million "Bannatyne Spa Hotel" in Hastings.

In December 2009 Bannatyne joined the UK?s largest monthly business magazine Business Matters as a monthly columnist alongside former Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry.

In January 2010, Bannatyne appeared alongside his Dragons? Den co-stars Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden in the fifth episode of the sixth series of Hustle.

His wealth as of 2011 was estimated at 430 million by the Sunday Times Rich List.

In April 2011, Bannatyne took on a new venture by setting up a brand new Digital Agency with "the voice of the X Factor", Peter Dickson, in Bournemouth called Bannatyne Digital.

Bannatyne received his OBE partly in recognition for his work with charities such as Mary?s meals. In Romania where over a ten year period he has funded several projects, notably Casa Bannatyne in Targu-Mures, a hospice for orphans with HIV and AIDS in which he invested 80,000. In March 2008 established the Bannatyne Charitable Foundation with a personal injection of 1,000,000.

Appearing on the Question Time panel on 7 February 2008, Bannatyne stated he had been a donor to the Labour Party under Blair. He also voiced his support for Brown, but criticised the Cabinet for what he described as "petty squabbles based on personal ambition". In March 2011, Bannatyne appeared to switch political affiliations again by backing the measures imposed in George Osborne?s budget. He stated he was fully supportive of the incumbent government believing it to have the nation?s best interests at heart.

Bannatyne has four children by his first wife Gail: Hollie, Abigail, Jennifer, and Eve; and two with his current wife, Joanne McCue: Emily and Tom. He has two grandchildren Ava and Austin, from his eldest daughter.

McCue was Bannatyne?s former director of nursing with Quality Care Homes. He proposed to her in Barbados in early March 2006, and married her on 11 November 2006 at St Mary?s Church in Norton, Stockton-on-Tees. Celebrities at the ceremony included Anna Ryder Richardson, Cherie Lunghi, Gary McCausland, Dragons? Den presenter Evan Davis and fellow Dragons Theo Paphitis, Richard Farleigh, Simon Woodroffe and Deborah Meaden. Pop star Marc Almond then performed for 200 guests in the warehouse next to his company?s head office.

Bannatyne and his family live in England and France, maintaining homes in Wynyard Park, County Durham, in the north-east of England, and Covent Garden, London. They have a holiday villa in Mougins, near Cannes. His French home was showcased in an article in the May 2010 issue of A Place in the Sun magazine.

Bannatyne openly discussed having had cosmetic surgery under his eyes on The Graham Norton Show

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