At the heart of every strong community is great people. I am often asked what drives me to become involved in such varying causes, businesses and charities, and the answer is simple: “It’s purely interest, meeting people. I invest in the North-east of England because there isn’t enough investment up here, but there is opportunity here.

My attraction to the North East came from the fact that so many people I’ve come across in my business, in my main businesses, have come from the North East. One of my closest friends, a friend I met in Dubai 20 years ago, lives here. Despite only being in Dubai together for less than a year, we have been firm friends since.

The North East is an industrial, working-class area where people want to work, and everyone I’ve met and worked with has remained pretty loyal throughout.

We take on trainees and apprentices in all companies, further investing in the future for people who perhaps have limited options to excel, regardless of their educational background, and with many trainees coming from the forces.

I’m a great believer in karma and that’s partly why I get involved in the community, because I think it all comes back.