My dad is UK's richest gypsy – I want to follow in his footsteps

My father is the UK’s richest gypsy – I left school at 11-years-old, but I’m on track to make millions just like him

  • Elizabeth Best, 27, is the daughter of multi-millionaire businessman Alfie Best
  • READ MORE: Britain’s richest gypsy, 52, who was born in a caravan and now owns a home parks empire is set to become a billionaire 

An entrepreneur whose father is the ‘UK’s richest gypsy’ has revealed her goal to follow in his footsteps and make her own millions.

Elizabeth Best, whose father is Alfie Best, is a mobile home park manager for Wlydecrest Parks, the £700 million business founded by Alfie.

As she appears in a film about her family, Billionaire Gypsy, Elizabeth has revealed her plan to help her father run the family business – despite leaving school when she  was just 11.

She reveals in the film that, at the end of primary school, she had a discussion with her parents about her future and they came to the mutual decision that she would not continue her schooling, The Sun reports.

Elizabeth reveals that, when she was old enough to drive, she took herself to Chelsea and Kensington College to study millinery design instead of a standard secondary school education.

Elizabeth Best, 27 (pictured), has appeared in the film Billionaire Gypsy which documents her father Alfie Best’s rise to the top

These days Elizabeth runs one of her father’s residential parks in Windsor, and she describes in the film why she is so passionate about her job.

‘We grew up on a park, we grew up learning and interacting and spending time and making relationships with the residents,’ she explains.

Elizabeth describes the strong sense of community she gained growing up, where she had a close relationship with her neighbours.

She describes the atmosphere as ‘like living with a load of grandparents’. 

Alfie Best (pictured with his daughter) is a 53-year-old businessman who owns £700 million empire Wyldecrest Parks 

As she goes on to lay out her ambitions for growing her father’s empire and continuing his work, Alfie gushes over his daughter’s talents and ambition.

He insists Elizabeth did not just walk into a ‘board room seat’ – rather, she worked hard to climb up the ladder.

‘She’s meticulously and slowly worked through it. And she’s worked from the ranks up,’ he says.

Alfie’s rise to the top has been meteoric in itself, having been born on the side of the road near Leicester before joining the business world. 

The 53-year-old started his career in his teens selling cars and vans, before setting up a group of mobile phone stores when he was 20.

Now the boss of Wlydecrest Parks, he lives in a £6 million mansion in Surrey with his family and travels around the UK in a helicopter.

It’s a dramatic change from his childhood growing up in the traveller community, but Mr Best says even with his extreme wealth, he knows what’s most important.

He told The Sun: ‘This genuinely isn’t about earning any more money. I’m of the opinion that once you have made five or ten million, then you do not need any more money than that.

Alfie Best, pictured here with his  his new £4.5 million Aston Martin-designed helicopter, is set to become the world’s first gypsy billionaire

The entrepreneur, pictured here at a gala screening of The Courier in August last year, says as far as he’s concerned he already has all the money he needs 

‘That’s all the money in the world as far as I am concerned because that allows you to do everything.

‘After that, it’s about actually building something that makes a difference. I get a lot of criticism but I’ve got broad shoulders. You have just got to take it and accept it and realise I am lucky.’

In 2015, when he worth a paltry £200 million, Mr Best told MailOnline he didn’t ‘feel successful’.

‘What is successful? I’m still working stuff out as much as the next person,’ he said.

‘I am in a lucky enough position to know that I made some good choices but, the truth is, I’m a bit of a dunce.

‘I get up every morning and I pinch myself and thank my lucky stars that I’ve had the luck to be where I am.’

Yet Alfie – who has lunched with former Tory Prime Minister John Major and boxer Mike Tyson – still describes himself as frugal, amid fears he could still lose everything he has worked for in a flash.

In a nod to his humility, he even turned down a request to be included in the Sunday Times Rich List in 2011.

‘I never spend beyond my means. Everything that I buy is to sell – from the cars that I drive, to the houses I own. And I know the value of everything I have,’ he said.

‘Don’t get me wrong, of course I have enough to be comfortable. But I have lived through a recession and live in fear of being in that position again.

Elizabeth, 27 (pictured), says she wants to follow in her father’s footsteps after he achieved enormous business success

‘When you have been through harrowing recessions, it changes you. Even though it was 25 years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday.’

That recession came in the early 1990s, just four years after Mr Best had launched his first business – a van hire centre and dealership in Forest Gate – at the age of 16.

He had learned the salesman ropes as a ten-year-old, when he conducted door-to-door sales as part of his father’s Tarmac business.

‘Have you ever heard of the expression ‘you talk as fast as a Gypsy’?’ he said.

‘When I was with my dad trying to sell as a youngster, I had 30 seconds to say my bit before the door would be closed in my face. That taught me a lot about the basics of being a good salesman.’

But, four years after launching his first business, Mr Best was plunged into financial crisis. With a hefty mortgage on his home and business, and a nationwide recession, he almost lost everything.

He said: ‘I had never been through a recession at that point and I could not understand how bad things were going to get.

‘Every day that came was a new learning day that I had not been through before and I had no choice but to draw from my experiences. Of course, it was soul-destroying.’

Mr Best said he managed to hang on ‘by the skin of my teeth’, renting out his home, increasing his bank loan and sleeping in his car for three months as he desperately tried to turn around his fortunes.

When things finally hit rock bottom, Mr Best knew he needed to get another job. He noticed that the two businesses which appeared to be flourishing during the downturn were takeaways and phone shops.

So he waltzed into a nearby phone shop in East Ham, begged for a job as the tea boy, and spent three months picking up tips.

Three months later, he launched his own mobile phone business with the help of a loan. Within 18 months, he had 13 shops across London.

‘I made the right decision at the time,’ he said. ‘I remember when I went to see my bank manager, his exact words were: ‘You are an extremely unorthodox businessman’.

After selling that business, Mr Best moved into commercial property and now has up to 80 acres of industrial units spread around the country.

Some years later, his wife Emily suggested he revert to something of which he had more experience and knowledge. He decided to embark on a business in the motor home industry, buying his first one in 2001 for £1.7 million.

That business has gradually expanded and now Wyldecrest Parks runs 91 mobile home parks across the country.

Gypsy Billionaire the film premieres at Cannes film festival on Friday. 

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