We asked for your opinions on Britain's jet-setting man-child

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Despite the growth of his empire, Richard Branson retains a sense of what ordinary folk want from his companies. His airline and stores are fine examples - well thought-out to the convenience and comfort of even the "riff-raff" user. As one of his customers, I have the impression that he has an ability to create pride and enjoyment among his staff, motivating them to give efficient, helpful, cheerful service. Today, when disillusionment with one's employer is commonplace, this is an amazing ability. No matter how much he irritates me with some of his hare-brained schemes, long may he continue.

Veronica Main

Hazlemere, Buckinghamshire

Everyone in Britain in 1996 who does the lottery and who has heard of Richard Branson thinks his greatest success would have been if his bid to run the National Lottery as a non-profit making concern had won, instead of those sharks who profit by a million a week. Only 6p in every pound bet goes to charity! Let's hope a chance like this will arise again for Branson. We want amiable examples, as well as money-grabbing ones, to influence society. In the meantime, Virgin Records, Virgin Airways, Mates and Virgin Healthcare are a fine cv. Send up the balloons!

Julius Hogben

London, W10

Do we need Richard Branson? I doubt that "we" need him at all. However, "they", Britain's ruling class, need him desperately. He is among the very few credible figures they can field.

Keith Flett

London, N17

Noel Edmonds? Jeremy Beadle? Salman Rushdie? Matthew Kelly? Robin Cook? Prince Michael of Kent? Oliver Reed? We obviously do need Richard Branson, if only as a role model for those contemplating facial hair.

Nick Harris


Yes, please! We need Richard Branson to effect a sustainable transport system here and throughout the world, starting with Heathrow. Enough is enough for the people affected. Share the air traffic round UK airports. Control "BAA BAA lack sleep" and its swamping of the airways and runways. Virgin can do it. Take a lead again, Richard.

J Welchman

London, W4

This country desperately needs the gusto, lack of inhibition and healthy disrespect for convention that Richard Branson displays. Personally, I do not need to see his grinning face in my newspaper each time he embarks on another boyish and ill-conceived ballooning adventure, but the grin, the boyishness and the beard are part and parcel of the man and I am happy to put up with them for all the other qualities he supplies.

F Gleeson