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Jim Heselden

David has commented on the men who abandoned school or never attended it and went on to careers of brilliance. Scientist Robert Hooke was one. Peter Mansfield, co-creator of the MRI, is another. Entrepreneur Richard Branson, now embarking on space travel, is a third. Jim Heselden, who has just died in an apparent accident with a Segway scooter at the age of 62, was still another. Jim left school at 15 and worked in the pits before making a fortune with a "blast wall" basket, which protects soldiers.

Mr Heselden brought hundreds of jobs to the Leeds area with the revolutionary protection baskets made by Hesco Bastion since 1990.

The "concertainer" units have been used to protect soldiers in every major conflict since the first Gulf War and is seen as one of the UK's most successful defence exports.

They are also used for a range of non-military functions including flood management and erosion control.

. . .Mr Heselden was as well-known for his charity giving as he was for his massive fortune and tributes poured in for him from various sectors.

He was the greatest benefactor of Help for Heroes and for many local projects. Asked why he gave, Jim Heselden said, "I have done well in business and feel a duty to put something back and it makes me feel good to know I can help other people."

Ave atque Vale.

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