CLIVE Richards invests in futures. Not those of the stock markets he strode through as a “big beast”

back in the 1980s, but shares in what school can do.

Now he’s put his money into 100 new university scholarships each worth £1,000, awarded as a salute to first year academic performance.

Children around the world get to profit from the Herefordshire philanthropist through his international education charity.

But he’s invested heavily close to home too, having helped steer most of the county’s high schools toward specialist status and backed many other initiatives as capital ventures.

Mr Richards made his money as a venture capitalist to become one of the most successful businessmen in Britain, earning an OBE along the way.

He then swapped the City of London for life at Lower Hope Farm, Ullingswick, where he’s become just as successful as a cherry and berry grower.

In March this year the return on that investment earned Mr Richards and his team the top fruit grower of the year title at the UK Grower of the Year awards.

Not bad for a lad who first came to the county with his family to pick blackberries.

His background saw him go straight into work – there was no opportunity for university. So opportunity is what the scholarship scheme set up in his name at the University of Worcester is all about.

Sealing the deal this week, Mr Richards said: “Education in all its forms, from primary school to university degrees, is key to the UK’s success in the 21st century.”

Professor David Green, University of Worcester vice-chancellor, said the university was “delighted”

by his generous show of support.

“These are valuable meritbased scholarships. We are very grateful that Clive has decided to invest in the future of our students who will go on to make a very positive contribution to society,” he said.