Dismayed by the quality of residential care for the elderly, Mike Parsons set up Barchester Healthcare 13 years ago with a mission to drive up standards. Celebrity chef Paul Rankin, star of Ready Steady Cook, and TV gardener Charlie Dimmock have been brought in to inspire chefs and gardeners at Barchester. Backed by Irish entrepreneurs Dermot Desmond, John Magnier and JP McManus, the company has expanded rapidly through several acquisitions and now employs 13,000 people across 170 homes. Its sales have risen 97% a year from £37.9m in 2002 to £289.2m in 2005.
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