Brian Burnie sells Doxford Hall to help cancer charity
Multi-millionnaire Brian Burnie has sold his luxury Northumberland hotel - with his profits going to charity.
Doxford Hall Hotel, near Alnwick, has been bought by Robert (pictured right with Brian Burnie) and Gina Parker from Mr Burnie in a multi-million pound deal.
Mr Burnie, 65, has owned Doxford Hall for 17 years and began restoring it as a hotel 12 years ago, opening in 2008.
As revealed in The Journal, Heaton- born Mr Burnie put the venture up for sale for ÃÂ£9m through property agency Knight Frank last September.
The businessman, whose wife Shirley, 62, recovered from cancer five years ago and who has given thousands of pounds to disease charities, plans to use the proceeds to buy and run 25 minibuses to carry cancer patients in North Northumberland to hospital, working with the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity trust.
Mr and Mrs Parker already own Guyzance Hall and Eshott Hall in Northumberland and the Tedsmore Estate in Shropshire, on which they live.
Mr Parker, who plans to move to Northumberland, has ambitious plans for Doxford Hall which include achieving AA red stars.
He also wants the hotel to become Northumberland's first Michelin Star Restaurant.
Mr Parker is keen to invest in the county's economy by sourcing locally, especially in staff and suppliers.
He already has the same policy in place with his other properties, including Guyzance Hall where over ÃÂ£1m has been spent since its purchase three years ago, much of which has gone on local labour.
Mr Parker said: "Brian Burnie has done an amazing job with the creation of Doxford Hall and every aspect of it has been finished with stunning attention to detail.
"I understand he now wants to focus on his charity work and we are delighted to purchase this hotel from such an inspirational person.
"Our aim is to take this hotel forward ensuring that it becomes one of the most exclusive country house hotels in Northumberland."
Mr Burnie, who plans to remain in the county, said: "After 17 years this is an important milestone for me and my family and of course we will be sad to leave.
"However, I am reassured that Robert and Gina will continue to operate Doxford Hall to the same high standards as ourselves."
Doxford Hall is a four-star rated, 25-bedroom country house hotel designed by Georgian architect John Dobson.
It is one of Northumberland's most sought-after venues for weddings, and for private and corporate functions.
Mr Parker spent many years as an Anglican clergyman and still remains active in the church.
A career change saw him developing a chain of care homes which he sold in 2006.
Since then he has focused on the development of high-class country hotels and rural estates. His wife is a native Northumbrian, was born and brought up in Seaton Sluice, and attended Newcastle High School for Girls.
Mr Parker had never been to Northumberland until he visited with his wife, and thanks to her, he quickly fell in love with the county.
He said: "It is very important that we become part of the local economy because Northumberland is very much going to become our home and we will have a stringent local sourcing policy.
"I know that we have been very lucky in life.
"By operating a successful business we are able to give something back to the community."
DOXFORD HALL PROCEEDS WILL HELP CANCER SUFFERERS
Brian Burnie plans to use the proceeds from the sale of Doxford Hall to help cancer sufferers.
Having seen his wife Shirley recover from breast cancer five years ago, Mr Burnie is to buy and run 25 minibuses to allow people suffering from the disease in North Northumberland to travel to hospital for treatment.
The businessman is working with the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity trust on his vision for a new charity, entitled Daft as a Brush.
The 65-year-old is being filmed in a fly-on-the-wall documentary.
He told The Journal: "I remember when my wife came home from having chemotherapy, she was almost asleep before she got through the door. It's very draining.
"It affects people quite dramatically and we want to take that sharpness off such a difficult time. It's an aspect of life that people aren't prepared for."
Mr Burnie and his wife have given thousands of pounds to cancer and other charities over the last 40 years.
When the couple married they told their guests not to bother with presents and asked for donations to Tyneside Leukaemia Research.
In 1989, Mr Burnie set up the PES Associates Charitable Trust to formalise his business's charitable giving.
He has supported events including the world's biggest children's party on the Town Moor in Newcastle in 1989, which 120,000 people attended raising more than ÃÂ£260,000 for the Children's Heart Unit at the city's Freeman Hospital.
In 2005 a reunion for war veterans at Doxford Hall earned a world record for the largest ever serving of fish and chips.
The Burnies have also spent some Christmas days treating the less fortunate to a better celebration than they could have afforded themselves.
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