4 (3) Sir Anthony Bamford and family £1.2bn (£950 m)

Sir Anthony Bamford is a man who puts his money where his mouth is. Not for him the empty carping about schools failing to produce people who want to make things. He intends to grow his own.

His Staffordshire-based JCB is planning to spend £20 million on its own JCB Academy for pupils who want to pursue careers in engineering and manufacturing.

The academy, due to be opened in 2009, will offer 540 places to students aged 14-19 in a refurbished historic mill close to JCB’s world HQ at Rocester near Uttoxeter.

The plan is to rebuild and expand the mill in an eco-friendly way, with energy generated by the mill’s water race via a new water turbine and waste timber packaging from JCB’s factories to provide biomass chips for heating.

Pupils will be able to gain diplomas in engineering, manufacturing and international business.Back at JCB, things continue to go well, fuelled in large part by the staggering growth of the Indian and Chinese economies.

Latest figures show profits of £110 million on a turnover of £1.42 billion. Demand for JCB equipment has been high, with a factory output of 45,000 machines - up 21 per cent.

The company also picked up not one but three Queens Awards for its export achievements. JCB’s Loadall business unit, JCB Compact Products of Cheadle, and Wrexham-based International Transmissions were all honoured. This means that JCB has cemented its position as the UK company with more Queens Awards than any other, with 21 since its first in 1969.

JCB’s success comes on the back of its international growth. A massive £80 million order for the Pentagon supplying the US Army with 500 vehicles is being delivered. And JCB recently opened a £15 million facility in Pune, India as part of a substantial investment on the sub-continent which includes a £36 million expansion of the company’s plant at Ballabgargh near New Delhi, doubling its capacity. There’s also a new factory in Shanghai.

A host of JCB machines are also playing a key role in the construction of a major highway linking the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans across the Central American country of Panama.

Sir Anthony is a longstanding Conservative Party supporter and donor, but also counts Tony Blair and the Prince of Wales among his friends. His relationship with Gordon Brown has yet to be documented but is likely to be less sociable than his cordiality with Blairs, who have been guests at the Bamford’s Barbados holiday home.

Sir Anthony and his wife Lady Carole Bamford have a £24 million house in Chelsea and a 1500-acre estate in near Stow-on-the Wold where Lady Bamford also runs Daylesford Organics. The ex-air hostess founded the company five years ago and it is now one of the country’s largest working organic farms.

She counts David Cameron, Liz Hurley, Bryan Ferry and Kate Winslett among the farm shop’s customers. The Bamfords also own the 3,000-acre Wootton estate in Staffordshire.

Lady Carole received an OBE for her charity work, and through her own charitable foundation has raised vast amounts of money for children all over the world.

The Bamford’s fortune has been amassed through hard work and business acumen, which began in 1945 when Joseph Cyril Bamford started his business in a small garage in Rocester which prospered on the back of the post-war building boom.

Now it employs more than 6,000 people and sells 278 different products in 150 countries worldwide.