Sunday, August 5, 2007




“Being wealthy means having more responsibility too,” Hunter said when giving 1 trillion pound sterling to Africa.

20 years ago, Thomas Blane Hunter had to sleep in the back of his van, between boxes that contain the shoes that he was selling. Tom has to gone through those tough times because he couldn’t rent a room when he was going to many places to sell his products. During those times, he then made a promise to himself that if one day he becomes a millionaire, he will donate 1 trillion pound sterling.

That sincere hope stays in his mind until he becomes a trillionaire. Now it is the right time to fulfill his dream. Tom that got the Sir title from the British Kingdom donates 1 pound sterling to Africa and England through the foundation that he built. That amount of donation was the biggest one in the history of England. According to this man that was born in 1960, fulfilling his promise will make his life more sensible. According to Hunter, what he is doing now is his responsibility. “Being wealthy means having more responsibility too,” Sir Thomas explained.

His road to success is quite a long journey. His effort started in the 1980’s. Tom realized, as a man that was born in New Cumnock, an area of coal mining industry, he has to do something in order to success. With the 5,000 pound sterling that he got from his father and Royal Bank of Scotland, Tom started to sell shoes in the back of his van with the name Sports Division. Tom used his garage as his distributing centre. Tom worked 90 to 100 hours per week. At night, tom still worked. At this hard time, Tom met Marion, she then became his wife. According to Tom, at this time, Sports Division had its toughest moment. Tom had to do marketing on his own and went to many places in Scotland. Tom explained that, at that time, he couldn’t rent a room at the inn so he often had to sleep in the back of his van.

Things soon got better for Tom, his marketing network grew. Tom started to open some stores in many places. In 4 years, the business grew rapidly and he continued to open more stores. In 1990, his profit was 15 million pound sterling. With his persistence, Tom managed to make Sports Division the market leader. In 1998, Tom sold Sports Division to JJB Sports for 250 million pound sterling. He then used the money to established West Coast Company (WCC) on March 2001. WCC then makes him a trillionaire. With WCC, Tom became the biggest shareholder in some companies like USC, Office, D2 and Qube. Tom also became British Home Stores shareholder (8%). Besides that Tom also invested in property.

Annie Lewis from Oxfam praises Tom’s effort in relieving the suffering of the poor. “Tom Hunter is very concerned with the poor in Africa. Oxfam supports his plan to raise fund through his foundation. We hope that his investment will help them,” Lewis said. Tom also donates to the Band Aid, Make Poverty History campaign and the Live 8 concert for poverty.