The cash was his demob money, from his wartime service with the RAF as part of the ground crew at Finningley, near Doncaster.
He put it into a bank account, and armed with a bucket, shovel, sand and cement, and a jalopy for transport, began to build.
The company he created, Hassall Homes, was a force in the Yorkshire housebuilding sector for decades to come.
Between 1948 and 1976, it was responsible for thousands of dwellings in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, and such was its reputation that the name was retained for years after Percy sold up and retired.
He had been born in Stocksbridge, one of six children. The family moved to Totley in the early 1930s and he attended the church school there – eventually leaving to help support the family.
Always a grafter, he remained active well after he stopped working – driving regularly to Buxton in his eighties to go swimming, and walking and shooting on the moors, his black Labrador at his side. He was also president of Longshaw sheepdog trials.
He was married to Barbara, whom he met after leaving the armed forces, for 62 years, and is survived by a son and two daughters.