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英语趣闻:妻子要求离婚 因无法忍受富豪卖房搞慈善

2014-09-23    来源:chinadaily    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Multi-millionaire gave away his entire fortune to help others but his wife left him

He is not the first multimillionaire to quit the world of commerce and vow to give his entire fortune to charity. But few can have put their money where their mouth is with such conviction as Brian Burnie.

Once the owner of a £16million mansion, the 70-year-old now lives off his pension in a small flat and drives a battered Ford Fiesta.

The former recruitment firm boss pledged to dedicate his life to helping women with breast cancer after his wife was diagnosed with the disease.

But it emerged yesterday that the couple divorced after Shirley, his wife of almost 30 years, grew fed up with his addiction to parting with everything the family had worked for.

‘I didn’t intend to have to beat cancer and then spend the rest of my life living in a house like this and doing everything for everyone else,’ said Mrs Burnie, 66, who made a full recovery. ‘I’m sick of bloody charity and the hard work – we all are. I didn’t want to give everything away. We needed a home and an income and we have three children. I wanted security for us and our family.’

Born in a Newcastle bedsit, Mr Burnie grew up in a home without an indoor toilet and began working life as a grocery delivery boy aged 15.

After building successful businesses in construction and recruitment, he turned his ten-acre Northumberland estate into a £16million luxury hotel and spa.

But following his wife’s diagnosis a decade ago, Mr Burnie began to focus on charity. It was not a total surprise – at their wedding in 1981, he insisted they ask for donations to charity instead of presents.

In 2009, he sold the hotel and used all the proceeds to fund a fleet of cars ferrying rural patients to hospital – as part of his charity, Daft As A Brush.

Announcing they needed somewhere more ‘modern and easy to look after’, he shocked friends and former employees by moving his family to a tiny rented terraced house opposite a council estate in nearby Morpeth, insisting: ‘I’ve no interest in bricks and mortar.’

But there were signs his outwardly loyal wife was unhappy with the drastic change in lifestyle when he was persuaded to move them to a pretty stone house backing on to farmland.

Mrs Burnie hoped her husband’s retirement would allow them to spend more time together, but she said the ‘madness’ of devoting his life to helping others meant he was working 12 hours a day and barely seeing his family.

‘It took over his life, becoming more important than anything else to him,’ she added yesterday.

‘I said to him often that we had other things to consider, but his top three priorities were the charity, the charity and the charity.’ In 2011, she learned from someone at a hairdresser’s that her husband had bought a home in Gosforth, Newcastle, without telling her.

‘I felt he’d made his preparations for the end of the marriage and waited for me to find out,’ she said.

Shortly afterwards, according to Mrs Burnie, he told her the marriage was over, moving into a flat above the charity’s offices. The couple divorced in 2012.

But Mr Burnie denies he wanted to end the relationship and maintains there was nothing sinister about the house purchase, saying: ‘I never intended to live in it. I bought it for the charity.’ He still sees his grown-up children regularly, but they will not get a penny from him.

‘I had enough money to set them up for life, but I think that would be wrong,’ he said. ‘Your children have to make their own way.

Mr Burnie features in Channel 4’s documentary Jon Richardson Grows Up, tonight at 10.35pm. There is no mention of the couple’s split, though it does show him living alone in his flat.

Asked if he kept anything for himself he replies: ‘Nothing. I live off my pension – even that goes to the charity when I die.’

相关内容

拥有千万财产的布莱恩·伯尼(Brian Burnie)并不是世界首位弃商从善的富人,但伯尼对慈善事业的巨大热情绝对是凤毛麟角。

现年70岁的伯尼曾拥有价值高达1600万英镑的豪宅,然而伯尼目前却居住在小公寓里,开着破旧的福特Fiesta,依靠其退休金度日。

在伯尼的妻子被诊断出乳腺癌后,这位前招聘公司的总裁就誓言将投入毕生精力到帮助罹患乳腺癌妇女的事业中。

但20日,人们却发现这对夫妇早就离了婚。离婚的理由是伯尼的妻子雪莉(Shirley)受够了近30年来伯尼对其慈善事业超乎寻常的热枕。

从癌症中痊愈的雪莉现年66岁,对于离婚一事她表示,“我从没想过打败病魔后,余生住在这样的小房子里,为别人的事业奋斗。我非常厌倦辛苦万分又永无止境的慈善工作,我的孩子们也一样。我不想捐出所有财物,我们需要一栋房子和一份收入,我们还有三名子女要养活。我希望我们的家庭能够得到保障。”

伯尼出生在纽卡斯尔市(Newcastle),年幼的他居住在一所没有卫生间的住宅。从15岁起,伯尼就开始在一家食杂店担任送货员。

当伯尼的事业在建筑和招聘领域获得成功后,他利用自己在诺森伯兰郡(Northumberland)的三十亩土地建成了一栋价值1600万英镑的豪华旅馆。

十年前,当雪莉被诊断罹患乳腺癌后,伯尼开始将注意力转移到慈善事业。这对伯尼来说并不突兀,因为早在1981年他们的婚礼上,伯尼就坚持宾客们的红包应该发到慈善机构而非新人们手里。

2009年,伯尼出售豪华旅馆,并将出售所获的所有钱款都用于建立一支车队,专门负责将居住在乡村的病人们送往城里的医院。而这仅仅是伯尼慈善事业的小小一部分。

伯尼认为,他们需要住在更加“现代化”和“容易照料”的地方,于是他做出了一个震惊他朋友们和员工们的决定,——举家迁往莫佩思(Morpeth)附近的狭小出租房。该房屋位于政府廉租房的正对面,伯尼坚称自己“对房产没有兴趣”。

早在搬家之时,看起来一向支持丈夫决定的雪莉就显露出了不满的迹象。

雪莉希望伯尼退休后能多和家人在一起,但伯尼的“疯狂”却导致他每天有12小时在为慈善事业工作,家人们的存在感则几乎为零。

9月20日,雪莉补充道,“慈善事业是他人生的全部。我经常告诉他,我们还有很多事情要考虑,但他的优先项永远都是慈善、慈善、还是慈善。”2011年,雪莉从一位美发师处得知,伯尼在纽卡斯尔的斯福斯(Gosforth)买了一套房子,而她并不知情。“我觉得他已经在为这段婚姻的结束做准备了,他只是等着我自己去发现而已。”

据雪莉称,不久后伯尼就告诉她他们的婚姻已经走到了尽头,并很快搬到他慈善工作室楼上的公寓居住。2012年,伯尼与雪莉离了婚。

但伯尼却不认同这种说法,“我从没打算在那套房子居住。我是为了慈善工作才买下那套房子。”现在,伯尼还是会定期去看他们的孩子,但孩子们将不会从伯尼处得到分毫金钱。

伯尼称,“我原本有足够的金钱安置他们的生活,但我觉得这种做法可能不对,孩子们应该自食其力。”

21日晚,伯尼在英国某电视节目中做客。节目并没有提及伯尼的婚姻,但种种迹象表明伯尼目前确实是单身。

当被问及是否给自己留有部分财富时,伯尼的回答是否定的。“我没给自己留下任何财富。我靠退休金过活,如果我离世的话,剩下的退休金也将全部捐给慈善机构。”


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