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Tony recalls being considered a 'bright' pupil and left school at 17 with seven O Grades and four Highers to study for a BA in accountancy at the University of Abertay. However, soon after starting the course, he spotted an advert in the local newspaper for the Territorial Army Parachute Regiment and signed up to supplement his meagre student grant.
He loved every aspect of his involvement with the elite regiment, from the punishing physical training to the camaraderie of all his great mates who were fellow recruits, all were drawn from all walks of life. To his parents' dismay however, he decided to abandon his university course to join the regular Army and in some way prove that he was worthy of the Parachute Regiment's maroon beret.
Within months of completing his formal training, he found himself with 2 Para fighting in the Falklands, where he witnessed first-hand the horror of war, including the death of one of his closest mates and the psychological damage suffered by several of his comrades. It was a life-changing experience that shaped Tony's commitment to care for his fellow human beings. It's also where his drive to make the most of every opportunity that life presented to him has stemmed from.
When he returned to Britain at the end of The Falkland's conflict, he served with the parachute field ambulance before making another radical career move. In 1987, at the suggestion of a friend, he decided to become an insurance salesman in Aldershot. The experience opened his eyes to the world of commerce and finance and, having proved himself a success in the insurance sector, he decided to move back to Scotland and launch his own business.
Tony returned to his beloved Scotland and it was here he made the decision that would take the next great leap of faith and follow his instincts and hunches.
While working as a medic on the oil rigs, he used his time off to research the provision of care for the elderly and he quickly realised the private care home sector did not have the capacity to cope with Britain's ageing population.
Using the money from savings, sale of his house in Aldershot and gifting from family, he bought his first care home, Balhousie Lisden in Kirriemuir, in 1991. From modest beginnings with a 31-bed care home, Balhousie Care Group is now one of Scotland's most successful residential care providers, with 22 homes in Scotland providing accommodation for up to 850. Tony also employs 800+ people which makes Balhousie Care Group one of the biggest employers in the region which is a responsibility Tony doesn't take lightly!
Apart from his working life at Balhousie Care, he sits on the board of the Scottish Entrepreneurial Exchange and Combat Stress (causes close to his heart) and as a result occasionally gets to rub shoulders with the likes of HRH Prince of Wales, and Sir Richard Branson who has become a friend.
Tony's been flattered and honoured to be nominated for (and win) a number of entrepreneurial awards over the past five years, including Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He has also had the great honour to be a finalist for fundraiser of the year 2011 at the Daily Record Hero Annual Awards. Awards are only important to him when they serve to acknowledge that his peers and people he respects in business believe he's doing a good job and working in a healthy, productive and valuable way that benefits society in general.
Tony's is not however the story of a man born with a "silver spoon" in his mouth. Rather, it is a classic tale of a very normal Scottish guy, with a heap of healthy ambitions who found a way to make those ambitions become reality.
He had to be street wise to survive. Early in life he developed an ability to be energetic and focused in business and also found that he had raw, natural entrepreneurial flair that came about as a result of all the experiences he'd had before he had turned thirty
Tony believes his story can serve to inspire and motivate almost everyone that hears or reads it because, as he's often heard saying 'Every day is a school day...we never stop learning.' What he has learned is that if you set your heart and energy and beliefs and absolute commitment to achieve something, the chances are you will succeed.