Richard Branson is born in Blackheath, London. His mother is Eve Huntley Branson, nee Flindt. She performs in West End productions until World War 2, when she disguises herself as a boy to take glider lessons and becomes a signaler in the RAF’s WRENS womens corps. She then works as a British Airways hostess until she meets Major Edward James Branson, known as Ted, a cavalry officer who had wanted to be an archaeologist but went into law. Richard grows up in the small village of Shamley Green in Surrey. He has two sisters, Vanessa and Lindy. At the age of seven, Richard is sent to board at Scaitcliffe preparatory school in Windsor Great Park. At the age of 15, he decides that he will go into entrepreneurship.
My early years I remember as being very loving and supportive. My mother gave us a lot of freedom to go out and explore. We weren’t allowed to watch television. My mother was always busy doing something – she made wooden tissue boxes and waste paper bins to sell to shops to supplement my father’s income. She encouraged us to stand on our own two feet and went to extraordinary lengths to do that. Most likely if she were to do it today, she would get arrested. One time, when I was four or five, she stopped the car on the way home, made me get out and told me to find my way home back from my grandmother’s house. I remember getting lost, but eventually making it home.