Stuart Wall was born in 1951, and was one of a family of five living in a two-bedroom property with neither a bath nor inside toilet.
He left school at 16 with no qualifications. That’s undoubtedly a difficult situation to be in, and surely even he would have found it hard to believe what he would go on to do.
If you have drive though, you never know what might happen.
Through Stuart’s own efforts he eventually gained the qualifications he needed for university, and he went on to earn both an undergraduate and postgraduate degree.
He went on to work in Glasgow for eight years, mainly in the area of child behavioural assessment but also in providing appropriate residential facilities for troubled young people.
In the 1980s he moved to Manchester, where he worked in the field of drug addiction.
In 1990 Stuart launched a project to build care homes for young people with mental health issues. The venture stalled before it really got going, and by default Stuart became a developer of private apartments.
This in turn led to him developing student accommodation, and eventually founding his company Opal.
Today, Opal runs more than 20,000 student bedrooms throughout the UK employing over 700 staff, plus an associated construction company, comprising a group valued at about £1.4 billion.