First-Hand: Recession? Yes, I sold my yacht: Mark Thatcher says he's poor on pounds 40m. Peter Stringfellow ( pounds 12m) disagrees

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Indy Lifestyle Online
HOW much you value money depends on your background and since mine was working- class Sheffield, I respect it. Being poor means not having enough coal to put on the fire in winter or only having meat once a week. If you believe everything you read in the papers, I was worth pounds 12m at my peak, which I always thought was a conservative estimate. The wonderful thing about being wealthy is not having to worry, knowing that the cheque won't bounce.

Don't believe it when somebody says that money can't buy everything. If it can't be bought, it's not worth having. You would have to be a pretty miserable type to become rich and not be happy about it.

I started in 1962, when I opened up a church hall in Sheffield for Friday night dances. The first thing I bought when I started making money was an amplifier to boost the PA system. It cost me pounds 30, which was a fortune then. I was gutted when someone told that it wasn't the top model. I bought my first house in Leeds in 1970 for pounds 7,500 and the first piece of furniture I put in it was a green, onyx-topped table. I thought it was lovely.

It's still as much of a pleasure to buy things now as it was then, only my horizons are broader. I wear the best clothes, not just for the designer pose, but because well made clothes look good. This summer, I bought a beautiful Pierre Cardin linen suit which was unique to Britain. But that's really all I spend my money on. Cars don't interest me.

I have a very nice lifestyle. On a normal day, I get up around 10am and have coffee while I read the papers. I get them all and scan them for the word Stringfellow. Then I go down to my office - I live above my club and office in Covent Garden - and go through everything with my personal assistant.

Later, I take calls from my businesses in New York or LA. Then I have a jacuzzi and get ready to go for dinner at about 10pm. If I'm not having dinner in my own restaurant, I'm eating in someone else's, it depends on who's doing the inviting. Afterwards, it's on

to my club, getting home around three. Sometimes I remember getting home, sometimes I don't.

I contribute to several charities - the two that I will always support are Dream Flights, which provides holidays for terminally-ill children, and Cancer Research, because I lost my mother to cancer. I like to be involved and feel like I am doing something.

I have absolutely no hobbies, but I do have ambitions. Right now, my two big plans are to open a new club in London and buy a yacht. I used to have one but I had to sell it during the recession when things were a bit tight. Now business is picking up again, I'm going to get another, maybe a 50-footer, but definitely one that I can operate myself. Once I've bought it, I'm going to go away for a month, sailing round the Bahamas.

Being a millionaire is not that big a deal. Go out and make money, that's what I say.

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