Britain’s richest gypsy, born in a caravan, is set to become a billionaire as her home park empire continues to grow.
Alfie Best, who was born on a roadside near Leicester, now lives in a £6m mansion in Surrey.
The 52-year-old began his business career selling cars and vans as a teenager, setting up a group of mobile phone stores when he was 20.
Now, more than 30 years later, he runs Wyldecrest Parks, which operates 91 mobile home parks across the UK and is valued at £700 million.
The entrepreneur has even gone as far as to afford to buy his own £4.5 million helicopter designed by Aston Martin.
And as his business grows, his star looks set to become the world’s first gypsy billionaire.
Alfie Best, pictured here with his new £4.5million Aston Martin-designed helicopter, is set to become the world’s first gypsy billionaire.
The 52-year-old, pictured here for last year’s TV show Undercover Bigg Boss, owns Wildcrest Park, which operates 91 mobile home parks across the country.
It’s a dramatic change from his childhood to growing up in the traveler community, but Mr. Best says that even with his enormous wealth, he knows what’s most important.
They told Sun ‘It’s not really about making any more money. I believe once you’ve made five or ten million, you don’t need any more money than that.
‘As far as I’m concerned, there’s so much money in the world because it allows you to do everything.
‘After that, it’s really about creating something that makes a difference. I get criticized a lot but I have broad shoulders. You just have to take it and accept it and feel that I am lucky.’
The entrepreneur, shown here at a grand screening of The Courier in August last year, says he already has all the money he needs as far as he is concerned.
Modest Beginnings: Mr. Best was born into poverty but said he had a happy childhood. He is depicted as a child with his mother and father
The multi-millionaire, who ominously says we’ve entered a global recession, says: ‘In my opinion, you get what you deserve when it hits the fan.
Despite ongoing issues such as the cost of living crisis, Mr Best is set to cross the £1 billion mark next year as the value of his investments and business soar.
He added: ‘Depending on how the market plays out, we will have £1bn in assets by the end of next year. But I am a realist – anything can go wrong, you can go up and come down as fast as you can.’
After turning down a £950 million offer from a hedge fund for his park business, he hasn’t stopped spraying cash for as long as he can, with his latest purchase, a £4.5 million helicopter.
“Loads of dough and too much time are the two most dangerous things because passive hands work for the devil,” he said.
‘We can all party too much, we can all enjoy ourselves too much and I never thought I’d say that, but we can all work so hard.’
In 2015, when he was only worth £200 million, Mr Best told MailOnline that he did not feel ‘success’.
‘What’s successful? I’m still working stuff out as much as the next person,’ he said.
‘I’m in a position lucky enough to know that I’ve made some good choices, but the truth is that I’m a little silly.
‘I wake up every morning and I pinch myself and thank my lucky stars that I have had the privilege of being there.’
Yet Alfie – who has lunched with former Tory prime minister John Major and boxer Mike Tyson – still describes himself as frugal, amid fears that he may still lose everything he had for a flash. work done.
To his humility, he even turned down a request to be included in the Sunday Times Rich List in 2011.
‘I never spend more than my means. Everything I buy is for sale – from the cars I drive, to my homes. And I know that everything I have has value,’ he said.
‘Don’t get me wrong, of course I have enough to be comfortable with. But I have gone through a recession and live in fear of being in that situation again.
‘When you’ve gone through a tough downturn, it changes you. Even though it was 25 years ago, I remember it like yesterday.
Success: 45-year-old Alfie Best was born into a poor gypsy family by the side of the road, but is now worth millions
That recession came in the early 1990s, when Mr. Best started his first business – a van rental center and dealership in Forest Gate – at the age of 16.
He learned the salesman ropes at the age of ten, when he sold door-to-door sales as part of his father’s tarmac business.
‘Have you ever heard of the expression ‘talk fast like a gypsy’? They said.
‘When I was trying to sell with my father as a youngster, I had 30 seconds to make my point before the door closed in front of me. It taught me a lot about the basics of being a good salesman.’
But, four years after starting his first business, Mr. Best ran into financial trouble. With huge mortgages on his home and business and a nationwide recession, he lost almost everything.
He said: ‘I had never been through a recession at the time and I couldn’t understand how bad things were going to get.
‘What came every day was a day of new learning that I hadn’t seen before and I had no choice but to draw from my experiences. Of course, it was soul destroying.’
Mr Best said he managed to hang ‘by the skin of my teeth’ by renting out his house, increasing his bank loan and sleeping in his car for three months as he desperately tried to turn his fortunes around.
When things finally hit rock bottom, Mr. Best knew he needed to get another job. He noticed that two businesses that flourished during the recession were takeaways and phone shops.
Port Haverig Marina Village, Cumbria, one of the permanent trailer portions of Wildcrest Park nationwide
Another site, Badgers Retreat Park in Richmond, North Yorkshire, is set on 26 acres of land.
So he went to a nearby phone shop in East Ham, begged for a job as a tea seller, and spent three months taking suggestions.
Three months later, he started his own mobile phone business by taking a loan. Within 18 months, they had 13 shops across London.
He said, ‘I had made the right decision at that time. ‘I remember when I went to visit my bank manager, his exact words were: ‘You are a very unconventional businessman’.
After selling that business, Mr. Best moved into commercial property and now has industrial units spread across the country covering up to 80 acres.
A few years later, his wife, Emily, suggested that he should do something in which he had more experience and knowledge. He decided to start a business in the motor home industry, having bought his first business in 2001 for £1.7 million.
That business has gradually expanded and now Wyldecrest Parks operates 91 mobile home parks across the country.