Tycoon to sell hall and give proceeds to charity
AT an age when most business tycoons plan to cash in on a lifetime of hard work and prepare to retire in luxury, Brian Burnie's thoughts are far from feathering his own nest.
The Newcastle lad who started his working life aged 15 as a grocery delivery boy and built up a multi-million pound recruitment business would have every excuse for relaxing in his twilight years in the Northumberland country pile on which he has spent £16m transforming into one of the region’s most luxurious hotels.
But, just a few weeks from his 65th birthday, the multi-millionaire yesterday revealed plans to sell off Doxford Hall Hotel and Spa and its spectacular 10 acre estate and give the profits to charity.
Burnie wants to use the millions from the sale to establish and fund a Marie Curie/ Macmillan cancer nurse for north Northumberland and fund a set of bespoke vehicles to take cancer patients to and from hospitals.
"I have done the stately home bit and I am in the history books and now I want to give something back. While owning property and making money is important it is not as important as people," he says.
"The biggest thing with most people is money but with me it is not. I want to give it up and do something more for others. I have been at Doxford since 1993 and I am ready now to find somewhere smaller to live, somewhere modern and easy to look after.
"We can all do something by leaving money to charity when we die, but why don’t we do something while we are still living? The days of Brian Burnie working are over. The days of Brian Burnie doing nothing but charity work are here.
"My ambition is to die penniless. We come into this world with nothing and we should leave with nothing, although," he adds with a chuckle. "I don’t think my wife Shirley would let me do that."