Norfolk inventor James Dyson tops Sunday Times Rich List for the first time

James Dyson. Credit: PA

The Norfolk-born inventor Sir James Dyson has topped the Sunday Times Rich List for the first time.

The 73-year-old, who was born in Cromer, increased his net worth by £3.6 billion over the past year to take his overall wealth to £16.2 billion.

Sir James attended Gresham’s School in Holt and recently donated £19 million to his former school to fund a new science, technology, engineering, arts and maths centre.

He went on to make his fortune with the invention of the bag-less vacuum cleaner which went on sale in 1993.

Sir James replaced Indian-born businessmen Sri and Gopi Hinduja to claim the number one spot.

Kirsten Rausing was the richest woman on the list. Credit: PA

Newmarket-based racehorse owner and breeder, Kirsten Rausing, also made the top 10 again, staying in sixth spot, and is the wealthiest woman on the list (£12.1 billion).

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans dropped down the list slightly to 188th after his fortune fell by £50 million to £750 million, while Colchester property entrepreneur and Foxtons founder Jon Hunt also lost £100 million to drop to 111th (£1.3 billion).

Suffolk singer Ed Sheeran is now the fifth richest person under the age of 30 after his successful Divide tour boosted his wealth by £40 million to £200 million, while Stevenage F1 driver Lewis Hamilton is the richest active sportsman (£224 million).

Overall, the wealth of the UK's 1,000 richest people plummeted for thefirst time since the financial crash.

"Ever since the financial crisis of 2008-9, Britain's wealthiest people have become richer and richer. Covid-19 has called time on their golden period," List compiler Robert Watts said.

"This year's rich list paints a picture of Britain on the brink of calamity - two months after lockdown and already billions of pounds have been wiped out.

"You may not like the super-rich, but it is hard to deny that our economy will need the jobs they create and the taxes they and their companies pay if we are to escape a prolonged recession that causes further misery to millions."

Ed Sheeran (left) and Lewis Hamilton (right) both increased their fortune. Credit: PA

The Sunday Times Rich List Top 10

  • Sir James Dyson and family, household goods and technology, £16.2bn.

  • Sri and Gopi Hinduja and family, industry and finance, £16bn.

  • David and Simon Reuben, property and internet, £16bn.

  • Sir Leonard Blavatnik, investment, music and media, £15.78bn.

  • Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos chemical giant, £12.15bn.

  • Kirsten and Jorn Rausing, inheritance and investment, £12.1bn.

  • Alisher Usmanov, mining and investment, £11.68bn.

  • Guy, George and Galen Jr Weston and family, retail, £10.53bn.

  • Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Michel de Carvalho, inheritance, brewing and banking, £10.3bn.

  • The Duke of Westminster and the Grosvenor family, property, £10.29bn.