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Segway philanthropist found dead

Man behind Hesco Bastion

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Jimi Heselden, the multi-millionaire behind Hesco Bastion, who bought Segway Inc, was found dead on Sunday, next to one of the scooters

Heselden, a major donor to UK charities, bought the firm on Christmas Eve last year.

The 62-year old was found dead in the River Wharfe beside one of the two-wheeled scooters at 11.40am on Sunday morning.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police told the Mail: "Police were called at 11.40am yesterday to reports of a man in the River Wharfe, apparently having fallen from the cliffs above. A Segway-style vehicle was recovered. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"At this time we do not believe the death to be suspicious."

Heselden was persuaded to go public with his most recent donation after years of private philanthropy in order to encourage others to keep up charitable donations despite the downturn. He had given over £20m to the Leeds Community Foundation and also supported charities for ex-servicemen and women.

He started his career as a miner, aged fifteen, before starting a sandblasting business with redundancy money in the 1970s.

His firm, Hesco Bastion, makes Concertainers - steel-framed giant sandbags which were used to reinforce levees before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and are also standard-issue for protecting military installations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The boxes were first designed as sea and flood defences but are now used much more widely.

Hesco Bastion sent the following statement:

It is with great sadness that we have to confirm that Jimi Heselden OBE, has died in a tragic accident near his home in West Yorkshire.

Jimi Heselden, 62, was Chairman of Hesco Bastion Ltd, the world leading manufacturer of protective barriers and owner of Segway, Inc.

Jimi is perhaps best known for his charity work with Help for Heroes and the Leeds Community Foundation. A £10m gift to the Foundation earlier this month saw his lifetime charitable donations top £23m.

Our thoughts go out to his family and many friends, who have asked for privacy at this time.

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