WIGAN has a new richest man!
For years well-known local millionaires Dave Whelan and Martin Ainscough have alternately claimed that honour.
But the latest Sunday Times Rich List shows that the latter’s cousin Bill Ainscough has edged into the top spot for the first time.
The property magnate does have a rather lower profile than his above-mentioned relative and friend although he did emerge rather from the shadows to join the other two to make a major philanthropic donation towards the Wigan Youth Zone.
The 65-year-old is part of a hugely successful Ainscough dynasty and made his money through the growth of his Wainhomes house-building empire.
He sold half of the operation for £120m and the rich list states that his and his family’s wealth now stands at £275m.
That’s £25m more than they had last year and it puts them 369th in the list and £5m wealthier than pop legend Elton John.
Cousin Martin, who made his named through the Ainscough Crane Hire firm and a second fortune with his Ainscough Vanguard logistics firm in Standish, saw his and his family’s fortune dip by £4m but they are still said to be worth £206m and they are 465th in the table.
Recently retired Wigan Athletic chairman Mr Whelan still owns the club and has plenty more business interests on the books including his relatively new DW Sports Fitness empire. The 78-year-old and his family saw their fortune of £200m neither rise nor fall in the last 12 months although their position on the list slipped from 458th to 476th.
It puts them on a nigh identical financial footing to Hollywood golden couple Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas.
Another reglar local presence in the pantheon of Britain’s wealthiest remains Alan Murphy. Previously a Roby Mill resident but now ensconced in Monaco the 66-year-old is said to be worth £190m after he sold the tissue operation AM Paper for £150m. The father of former Holloaks actor Davinia Taylor is joint 517th on the list.
One of business’s most famous double acts - Kirit and Meena Pathak - like Mssrs Whelan and Murphy have seen their fortune remain pretty much the same as last year: £145m. They built up the Leigh-based Patak’s Indian foods empire into one of the most successful in the market and sold it to Associated British Foods for £200m. It puts them in the same wealth bracket as two famous knights of the entertainment world: Sirs Tim Rice and Tom Jones.
While the money in the aforementioned notables’ bank accounts is more than most of us could ever dream of, it is still relatively small change compared to the country’s biggest hitters.
Topping the 2015 chart is the owner of Warner Music, Len Blavatnik, who is said to be worth a cool £3.17bn - far more than all our Wigan millionaires’ assets put together.
And yet even this is dwarfed by those on the world’s rich list. Heading that ultimate line-up is the American-based Walton family who are behind the vast Asda/Walmart company with an estimated fortune of £106bn.
Microsoft chief Bill Gates, who used to top the lsit, now sits in the third place with a mere £54.9bn behind him!
Bill Ainscough was last night unavailable for comment.