Sir Richard's kite flies high with £204m dividend

Sir Richard Branson showed how he can afford to fund adventures such as kite-surfing the English Channel as it emerged over the weekend that he has collected more than £200m in dividends from Virgin Rail.

The Virgin mogul banked more than £28m last year from divis in trains and selling a stake in Air Asia X, meaning his total payout from Virgin Rail since 2004 has reached about £204m.

Sir Richard, who turns 62 later this month, proved he has lost none of his enthusiasm for derring-do and self-promotion as he attempted to kite-surf the English Channel yesterday.

He was trying to break the record set on Saturday by his son, Sam, who managed the 30-mile journey from northern France to Kent in two hours, 18 minutes.

"It's great that people my age can do it and even take on their children," said Sir Richard, who called off his own earlier attempt on Saturday midway through the crossing because his kite was too small.