THREE of Wigan’s top businessmen have been named in the North West’s rich list.
Dave Whelan and cousins Martin and Bill Ainscough are all among the top 20 wealthiest people in the region, with the last emerging as having the largest assets of the three.
But the friends haven’t been afraid to share their money in recent years, all being involved in ploughing millions into Wigan Youth Zone which opened last year.
With the help of a grant, they funded much of the £6.3m building costs to ensure the project got off the ground.
The North West rich list, compiled by Inside magazine, has Bill Ainscough listed as the 18th richest in the region, with a wealth of £250m.
The magazine says Mr Ainscough made his money from property and started out as a builder in 1973 and sold his Chester-based Wainhomes 28 years later and netted £120m. He did keep part of the business and renamed it the Wain Group which he split into four companies with a total net asset of £170m in 2012/13.
Bill’s cousin Martin Ainscough is in 22nd place with a wealth of £210m through plant hire and property.
The list explains how he and his brothers sold Ainscough Crane Hire for £255m in 2007 and how these days Martin is heavily involved with the Youth Zone, where he is chairman, and also the University Technical College.
One place behind Martin Ainscough is Mr Whelan in 23rd place with a wealth of £200m. He bought Wigan Athletic in 1995 and spent £25m on the JJB (now DW) Stadium in 1999.
Mr Whelan made £190m in the sale of his JJB empire in 2007, which he built up from just one shop.
His current business, DW Sports, is now worth £70m on the back of £5.6m in the 2012/13 business year.
Kirit and Meena Pathak, bosses of the Leigh-based Patak’s Indian Spices, also figure in the top 60.