Tony Banks (businessman)
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Tony Banks is a Falklands veteran and entrepreneur. He was chairman and founder of Balhousie Care Group, Scotland's largest private residential care home provider. He was a key figure in Business for Scotland and vocal supporter of Scottish Independence.
Early life and education
Born 23 October 1961, Banks grew up in Dundee. Banks' father was an RAF logistics sergeant and his mother was a housewife. His first job was working as a newspaper delivery boy. He also worked as a refuse collector, a shelf stacker, an electrician's assistant and a raspberry picker before leaving school at 17 to study accountancy at the University of Abertay.
At University in Abertay Banks joined the Territorial Army Parachute Regiment, subsequently he abandoned his studies to pursue a full-time career in the Army. In 1982, he was sent to serve in the Falklands War as part of 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment (2 Para). His regiment was the first battalion to land and the first to win a major battle. Banks fought at the Battle of Goose Green and during the conflict witnessed the death of one of his closest friends. After the end of the Falklands War, Banks served with the Parachute Field Ambulance service before becoming an insurance salesman. He later moved back to Scotland where he founded the Balhousie Care Group. Banks bought his first care home in 1991, Balhousie Lisden in Kirriemuir, Angus. He did so as a result of wanting a career change from life assurance sales. The Balhousie Care Group is Scotland's largest private care home provider, made up of 27 care homes, employing over 1000 people.
He is Honorary Colonel of the Territorial Army's 71 Engineer Regiment (Volunteers).
In 2013 he launched a new website where people who lived through World War II can upload their personal accounts of the conflict. Residents at some of Balhousie Care Group's homes have been among the first to appear on Banks' World War II Video Memories site.
In 2009, Banks appeared on the sixth series of Channel 4's The Secret Millionaire in which he spent some time living on a poor estate in Anfield getting to know some of the local residents. During the programme he donated money to people he had met. He has subsequently donated to organisations that he got to know while filming, including Daisy UK, a Liverpool-based organisation headed up by Dave Kelly.
In 2010, the BBC filmed a documentary entitled 'From War to Peace', in which a film crew followed Banks on a journey to Argentina. Banks had left the Falklands with a war trophy which he had kept for 28 years – a trumpet taken from an Argentinean prisoner of war named Omar Tabarez. With the help of a journalist who tracked down Tabarez, Banks visited him at his home in Argentina to hand back the trumpet. In March 2012, Banks released Storming the Falklands: My War and After, which charts his experiences in war, how he struggled for years with combat-related stress, and how he has just recently managed to come to terms with his experiences.
Banks currently serves on the board of the Scottish Entrepreneurial Exchange. He is one of James Caan's Millionaire Mentors for the Entrepreneurs' Business Academy. In 2011 Banks was one of 12 recipients in Scotland of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. He was also a finalist for Fundraiser of the year 2011 at the Daily Record Hero Annual Awards. Banks is a significant donor to Combat Stress and The Stroke Association.
Balhousie Care Group also supports the Memory Box Network, a charity which aims to use online reminiscence therapy to increase the quality of life of those who live with dementia. The team is developing a website where users can view and upload content which will act as a talking point between the person with dementia and their carers and loved ones.
- "About Me". Tony Banks. 2 August 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "Storming the Falklands – Little, Brown Book Group". Littlebrown.co.uk. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
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- "Tony Banks – The Entrepreneurial Exchange". Entrepreneurial-exchange.co.uk. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- Farrell, Jeff (15 June 2010). "Falklands veteran returns trumpet seized from Argentine soldier". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- Arifa Farooq (23 May 2012). "BBC One – BBC Scotland Investigates, 2010, From War to Peace". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- Tony Banks (6 March 2012). "A very dirty war: Life in the Falkland Islands after the invasion | Mail Online". London: Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "Entrepreneurial Exchange". Tony Banks. 2 August 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 Award Recipients" (PDF). Ernst & Young. 2011. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- "Our Heroes 2011: Take a look at our second batch of brave and kind-hearted nominees". Daily Record. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "Combat Stress". Tony Banks. 2 August 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "Perth News – News, views, gossip, pictures, video – Daily Record". Perthshireadvertiser.co.uk. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
- "Memories are made of this". The Courier. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
- "Business for Scotland independence group launches". The Scotsman. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- "Scottish referendum: Business leaders join new pro-independence group". BBC News. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013.