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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sir Tom Hunter, A man Of Grace For Africa

Scotland’s richest man pledged today to give away his one billion pound fortune to charity to help alleviate poverty in Africa.

Sir Tom Hunter plans to donate the huge amount to good causes in developing countries and in Britain during the rest of his lifetime, in one of the largest charitable donations in modern British history.

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Hunter started out selling trainers from the back of a van and by 1984 founded the sportswear shop chain Sports Division.

In April, The Sunday Times Rich List named him as Scotland’s first home-grown billionaire, with an estimated fortune of 1.05 billion pounds.

"There is more great wealth in fewer hands today than ever before in history," Hunter told the BBC. "My own personal belief is that with great wealth comes great responsibility.

"Therefore you’ve got to take care of these things if wealth creation is still going to be seen as a positive force by the rest of the population."

He added: "We’ve got all the material, goals have all been settled some time ago. So now the philanthropy is the real motivator to continue to make money."

Hunter sold his 300 Sports Division shops to JJB Sports in 1998, pocketing 260 million pounds.

He then started to invest in charitable projects, and was knighted in 2005 for services to entrepreneurship and philanthropy.

"My wife Marion and myself are going to leave this world as we came into it - pretty much with nothing," he said, according to The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"I don’t want to take a billion pounds to my grave with me. I am being responsible in setting out a way in which this money can go. I have been thinking about it a lot."

Hunter has three teenage children. He said they would not be left destitute, suggesting they would have enough money to do something with their lives but not enough to do nothing.

He said: "We don’t want to wait until we are dead to have some sort of legacy - we are far too selfish for that."

***the times

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