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One of the UK’s top 100 Asian business people, owner of the UK’s No. 1 water-based leisure attraction, board member on the North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership and of Staffordshire Tourism, and fundraiser – Mo Chaudry was born in Pakistan in 1960 and moved to Luton, England with his parents in 1969.
Mo set up his first company in 1985, soon built up a personal fortune and was a millionaire by the age of 30. His net worth has been quoted in The Sunday Times and currently stands at £55m.
In 1999 he bought Stoke-on-Trent’s loss-making Water World theme park from Rank Leisure for £1.5m. In the last 8 years he and his team have transformed it into the UK’s No. 1 water-based leisure attraction – the only such attraction in the UK that is making money.
Water World is now the biggest tourist attraction in the Stoke-on-Trent conurbation.
Mo is ranked among
• the top 100 most successful business people in the Midlands;
• the Midlands’ top 10 Asian business people;
• the top 300 business people with property interests in the UK;
• the top 100 Asian business people in the UK;
and plays a significant role within the North Staffordshire business community.
Mo has recently joined the board of the Marketing/Branding Group of the North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership. The board will be the key driver of regeneration in North Staffordshire.
As a board member of Staffordshire Tourism, Mo works tirelessly to promote tourism in general and Staffordshire in particular.
Mo started in the financial services industry as a canvasser in 1983 and worked for a while in insurance. In the late 1980s he established his own group of financial services and property businesses. Currently, he works in a non-executive capacity with a number of businesses in the Stoke-on-Trent area. He has done business studies mentoring with high school and sixth form students at Sir Thomas Boughey High School and the Sixth Form College in Stoke-on-Trent.
Mo has also worked with various charities, including:
• National Deaf Children’s Society (participated in a desert bike ride in the Middle East to raise funds);
• NSPCC: fundraising with friends John Caudwell and Phil (‘the Power’) Taylor;
• Hosting charity collection points at Water World for NDCS, NSPCC, Douglas Macmillan Hospice, Caudwell Children, Donna Louise Trust and others;
• Currently discussing fundraising projects with Barnados;
• Staffordshire Lions: annual event for disabled children hosted by Water World at a cost of £3k;
• Al Amir Foundation School in Pakistan – middle school for around 200 children: provided land for the school and financed start-up.
Unable to speak a word of English when he first came to England, and bullied at school, Mo coped with the culture shock by developing his fighting talents. His growing confidence and educational achievements gained him a place at grammar school (first Beech Hill High School, Luton; later Wellington Grammar School, Telford). But his over-confidence resulted in his leaving with just one O-level – in English literature.
The failure of his father’s business, his disappointment at his scholastic achievements, and daily encounters with racism spurred him on. After gaining O- and A-levels, he moved in 1980 to Staffordshire, and took a degree in sports science at Staffordshire University, supporting himself by working as a doorman.
Mo’s natural sporting talents were put to the test at university. He won a silver medal in weightlifting at the 1982 Student Olympics. Previously, while studying at New College sixth form college he had won caps for Warwickshire County Cricket Club (under 19s). Later, as a player for Shifnall CC, Telford, he won full Shropshire CCC caps. He also won plaudits for his martial arts and amateur boxing exploits.
Mo has enjoyed some memorable and extremely challenging adventure trips:
• Cycling through the Jordan desert in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia to raise funds for the National Deaf Children’s Society;
• Two-week adventure in the Sahara with the Beduoin;
• Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
He enjoys keeping fit, trains on a daily basis and hopes to undertake more adventure and extreme trips, time permitting.