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Northumberland estate profits donated to charity

17 May 10 09:06 GMT

A Northumberland millionaire has sold his country estate near Alnwick, giving every penny of the proceeds to charity.

Brian Burnie put Doxford Hall Hotel and its 10-acre estate up for sale for £9m, pledging that the proceeds would go to fund cancer care in the region.

Mr Burnie, 64, said he and his family would be "sad to leave" the hotel.

Northumberland couple Robert and Gina Parker have bought the site. They already own a number of estates in the north of England and Shropshire.

Mr Burnie said: "We live in a me, me, me society and it has always been important to me to think of others.

"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?"

He wants to pay for a Macmillan cancer nurse for north Northumberland and buy custom-made vehicles to take cancer patients to and from hospitals.

Delivery boy

The father-of-three said he and his wife Shirley - a breast cancer survivor - would live on their private pension.

The Newcastle-born millionaire said: "After 17 years this is an important milestone for me and my family and of course we will be sad to leave.

"I've done the stately home bit - the bricks and mortar - but I've always been a people person. To be able to do something to help people has a much bigger return than any financial gain."

"You are what your parents are and you should never forget your roots - we were millionaires in kindness, not money."

Mr Burnie began his working life as a 15-year-old grocery delivery boy before beginning a student apprenticeship for builders John Laing.

In 1979, Mr Burnie and a partner started investment company Kelburn Holdings in Newcastle before later moving into recruitment.

Mr and Mrs Burnie bought Doxford Hall, which features a 25-bedroom hotel and spa complex, from Northumberland County Council in 1993.

New owner Robert Parker said: "Our aim is to take this hotel forward ensuring that it becomes one of the most exclusive country house hotels in Northumberland."

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