TREVOR Hemmings, the owner of Blackpool Tower and a Scottish & Newcastle shareholder, has handed stewardship of his Scottish hotel group to son Craig, it has emerged.

The 70-year-old Lancashire entrepreneur's resignation from the board of Paragon Hotels group coincided with a return to profitability in the latest financial year.

Paragon posted a pre-tax profit of GBP743,000 in the 12 months to March 31, 2005, compared with a loss of GBP840,000 in the previous year, the company's annual report shows. Income dipped from GBP18.9m to GBP18m.

Trevor Hemmings retired as a director of Paragon on October 22 last year and Craig Hemmings was appointed to the board on the same day.

Craig Hemmings is also a director of media group Entertainment Rights, which owns characters such as Basil Brush and Postman Pat.

Paragon's principal subsidiary is Cairn Hotels, now renamed Classic Lodges. Cairn Hotels was originally established to accommodate more than 30 hotels picked up from receiverships during the recession of the early 1990s.

Bathgate-based Macdonald Hotels is thought to manage a number of Hemmings' hotel interests.

The entrepreneur invested in joint ventures established to build the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel in Edinburgh and the Cardrona Hotel, Golf and Country Club in Peebles, completed in 2003. Paragon owns 21-per cent and 20-per cent respectively of the ordinary share capital of those two ventures.

Paragon's gross profit was stated after charging GBP5.9m paid to hotel staff employed by a hotel management company and a company supplying payroll services.

This was down from GBP6m in the previous year.

The value of Cairn's freehold land and buildings increased from GBP61m to GBP62m in 2005, following unspecified property disposals. The company had outstanding bank loans of GBP60m at the year end, unchanged from 2004, sums which are repayable within two to five years.

Paragon is a relatively small part of Trevor Hemmings' business empire.

Hemmings, who began life as a bricklayer, has amassed a GBP730m fortune from the leisure industry. Paragon holds a listed investment in S&N valued in the latest accounts at GBP23m.


2005 2004


PRE-TAX PROFIT GBP743,000(GBP840,000)

DIVIDEND GBP187,000 GBP187,000

Full-year figures