'Look after our old people' pleas Dragon Duncan
WE need to stop fighting battles all over the world and start looking after our old people, says Dragons' Den star Duncan Bannatyne
He used to run nursing homes for the elderly, and his views on the way we treat senior citizens drew murmurs of approval and applause as his appearance at the Cheltenham Literature Festival came to a close.
The millionaire businessman and philanthropist talked frankly and calmly about a turbulent few years - which he has described in a new memoir Riding the Storm.
He told how he was in a car park taking a break during filming of Dragons' Den in 2010 when he received a text from his wife informing him that she was filing for divorce, wanted half of his fortune – estimated at more than £400 million at the time – and that she had changed the locks and he couldn't go home.
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He admitted that as his marriage collapsed he considered suicide: "I was standing waiting for train at Darlington Station, and I thought I could just step in front of it and all this pain would go away."
He said thoughts of his children and of people he worked with at charities stopped him.
Mr Bannatyne talked freely about his divorce and criticised the family court system.
Speaking of his divorce settlement he said: "I didn't sign a confidentiality agreement, my wife went to court and had a judge impose one on me. The secrecy of family courts is amazing."
He described how, aged 30 and having been dishonourably discharged from the Royal Navy, he bought an ice cream van, then sold that and built nursing homes. He said: "We have got to get more nurses and staff to look after old people.
"We all pay enough tax and I don't know where the money goes, but more of it should be spent on care of the elderly."
This week, the Echo reported how Bupa's Barrington Lodge Nursing Home in Cheltenham told its 30 staff and 18 residents to find alternative accommodation and employment because it was closing.