Brain Food: How he made his pile - Paul Sykes, Property developer

Who is he? Yorkshire property tycoon turned anti-EU campaigner, worth about £500 million.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

How did he make his millions? Written off at school, Sykes soon proved his teachers wrong by making a fortune selling old bus parts to the Far East. He turned to property, investing in the Meadowhall Shopping Centre, near Sheffield, and selling his stake in 1999 for £280 million, before going on to set up property company Highstone Group. A famous proponent of Yorkshire separatism, Sykes more recently turned his attention to Europe, joining Robert Kilroy-Silk, Joan Collins and Sir Patrick Moore in his support of the UK Independence Party and donating an unprecedented £1 million.

What's the secret to his success? Dour, blunt and bluff, Sykes is unafraid to speak his mind. His abrasive manner may get some people's backs up, but a mixture of vision and hard-nosed business acumen has served him well.

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