According to the latest Sunday Times Rich List . Toon owner Mike Ashley has become the North-East's only billionaire. The 46-year-old divorcee’s personal wealth grew by £378m to £1,268m last year - making him the richest person in the North-East by £830m. Ashle has benefited from the recovery of his Sports Direct chain, with his personal stake now worth £812m. Ashley is the country’s 52nd richest person, up from 65th last year.