Thursday, 27 Jan 2022

Secret millionaire went from £37m to living in caravan with £100 in bank account

A secret millionaire who was once worth £37million now lives in a caravan and only has £100 in his bank account.

Rob Lloyd, 57, was once one of the richest men in Wales, with an annual salary of around £350,000 and many millions more in his bank account.

He spent £6 million on creating a racing yard and another £2 million on horses, not to mention buying up a couple of farms too and even starred in Channel 4's hit show The Secret Millionaire in 2009.

But by July 2011, the Cheshire-born tycoon was reported to have up to £26 million of debts following the property market collapse, WalesOnline reports.

He was also ripped off by a conman in the Bahamas, who stole thousands from him through a dodgy deal, around the same time.

Then in 2017, there was the "ill-advised" appearance on The Real Housewives of Cheshire alongside Ester Dee, his then partner with whom he had a daughter.

He doesn't want to dwell on that rather farcical situation, which saw Ester reveal that as well as being engaged to Rob, she was married to millionaire John Temple.

And in 2020 he was given the bombshell news he had cancer after a series of nosebleeds since running the London Marathon.

He said: "You think it's never going to stop. Everything I touched; I was just making money. You just think it's going to get better and better and better."

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In its final year, he reckons he got the profits of Eatonfield to around £7 million.

But for all his seemingly magic ability to turn dilapidated property into cash, not even Rob foresaw what was just around the corner: the 2008 recession, or what he calls "the worst depression for 80 years".

For Rob, who's empire was built on retail property around the UK, it spelled disaster.

The Eatonfield board admitted that the company had been in severe financial difficulty since the summer of 2008, when the construction sector began to feel the impact of the credit crunch.

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By 2011, it was unsalvageable and the company went into liquidation.

For Rob himself, despite desperate attempts to buy back his company, it meant he lost everything: the racing yard had to be sold off, the horses went, the farms too.

His second marriage failed and he wound up living in a caravan in a field with a bank balance with just one zero rather than six.

"It really brings everything into perspective," said Rob.

"From one minute, you've got all the toys, all the race meetings, and you're flying here, flying there. You're just living the five-star treatment and then, all of a sudden, it hits you.

"For just over a year I was living in the caravan and for that first year it was grim, cold and damp. The second year wasn't much better.”

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With three adult children from his first marriage, Rob has just married his third wife, Maria.

"She's been really good for me," he said. "I'm enjoying married life. I'm enjoying life generally and I'm enjoying the little one, my daughter, who's six now.”

Not only is he rebuilding his fortunes, he's also rebuilding his health as he was diagnosed with cancer in 2019.

He's had to undergo gruelling chemotherapy and is still on medication for his lymphoma.

He only went to the doctors after struggling around the 2019 London Marathon in seven hours and kept getting nose bleeds and feeling rough afterwards.

He added: "With your health, you just don't know what's around the corner. I never thought I'd get cancer.

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“I never thought I'd become really ill because I've always been healthy all my life. And then this thing happens and it puts a different light on it.

"With the business side, I think it's market forces. I built up the company, we were very successful, and then all of a sudden this depression hit.

“The problem was when the banks were in freefall, there's not a lot I could do about it. The market just stopped and it was out of control.

"It's difficult – you just keep your head down in the trenches and keep battling and battling.”

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