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Sir Thomas (Tom) Blane Hunter


1961 -

Entrepreneur and philanthropist. Born in New Cumnock (East Ayrshire), the son of the local grocer, Hunter attended Cumnock Academy and graduated from the Business School of the University of Strathclyde. After selling trainers from the back of a van, he founded Sports Division in 1984 and built this from a one-man business into a leading retail chain. His first shop opened in Paisley in 1989, but the company eventually operated 240 sports stores across Britain and employed 7500 people. Hunter sold the company in 1998 for £260 million and established the Hunter Foundation to support educational and entrepreneurial projects in Scotland. In 2001, he was a founding partner of West Coast Capital, an investment firm created to encourage entrepreneurialism, and though this he has become a shareholder in a wide range of companies.

Hunter was listed on the Sunday Times Rich List 2005 as the 2nd richest man in Scotland, with an estimated wealth of £678 million. He has been a major supporter of various high-profile campaigns such as Band Aid, donating over £6 million, Make Poverty History and the Live 8 concerts. The same year he partnered with former US President Bill Clinton in the Clinton-Hunter Development Initiative promoting sustainable development in Africa. In 2007, Hunter announced he would give away £1 billion, making him Britain's most prolific philanthropist. He was awarded a knighthood in 2005 and holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen.

He maintains homes in East Ayrshire and the South of France.


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