09:50 23 August 2011
Kate Winslet has saved Sir Richard Bransons mothers life the billionaire tycoon has revealed.
The Oscar winning actress was a guest at Bransons Caribbean home on his £60 million private island when lightning struck the house and a fire broke out.
We had a really bad tropical storm with winds up to 90mph. A big lightning storm came around 4am and hit the house. he wrote on his blog. It took hold incredible quickly, with flames 100ft high. It ripped through the house very quickly.
The Mildred Pierce actress swept up Bransons 90-year-old mother in her arms and ran to safety.
It was she who carried my mother out of the house. She said it was like being on a film set where youre waiting for the words cut but they just dont come. So it was quite surreal for her to be in a real-life situation. he told ITV News.
The Virgin billionaire added: She carried my Mum out of the house. My Mum is 90 and can walk but it was more just to speed the process up than anything else but anyway, she was great. She swept her up into her arms and got them out of the house as fast as possible.
The main house is destroyed and the fire is not yet completely out. My office was based in the house and I have lost thousands of photographs and my note books which is very sad. But all family and friends are well - which in the end is all that really matters.
Branson bought the then £5 million-valued island in 1979 for a bargain £180,000 after the previous owner Lord Cobham was in great need of short-term capital. The tycoon then spent $10 million on the island making it into a luxury retreat, and it can now be rented out for £34,000 a night.
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