TYCOON Jimi Heselden spent a small fortune creating his very own “Neverland” at his home in a converted mill which he planned to share with the community.
The entrepreneur, who died four years ago, lavished £11m on the 67-acre Flint Mill, near Wetherby, which is now for sale with Beadnall Copley estate agents for just £3.95m. It boasts a 13,000sq ft vintage car museum, a life-size statue of Napoleon on top of a Nelson’s-style column, a mini Stonehenge and a ride-on railway running through stately home-style parkland.
The wildly extravagant spend may look like a poor investment, but for Mr Heselden it was worth every hard-earned penny. His family has revealed that he created his dream home with the intention of sharing it, with his aim to invite groups of disabled and under-privileged children to enjoy his idyllic, riverside estate.
His nephew Nicky, who worked with him on the project, said: “That was what it was all about. The train track, the museum, the miniature donkeys. He wanted the children to be able to come down and enjoy a day out in a great big playground. That’s what he was like, unbelievably generous.”
The property also allowed him to dream up ideas and put them into practice. He built his fortune after growing up on a Leeds council estate and becoming a miner. He used his redundancy cash to set up a sandblasting firm and then made millions from creating the Concertainer “blast wall” basket, used to build defences around military encampments.
He later bought the European licence for Segway and was out on his own hi-tech scooter when he died in 2010 aged 62. He had pulled over to allow a dog walker to pass when he fell 42ft from a footpath.