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Advert outside Bannatyne's gym in Darlington has the 'ex' factor
THE ex wife of Dragon's Den star Duncan Bannatyne has taken out a billboard-sized ad promoting her new gym - just over the road from his own health club.
Joanne McCue Bannatyne is also pictured on the eyecatching poster - which includes the slogan 'Welcome Your New Neighbours'.
It is plainly visible from Mr Bannatyne's office window in his HQ next to Bannatyne's Health Club on Haughton Road.
The 47-year-old, whose divorce from the self-made millionaire was finalised earlier this year, opened her rival CrossFit gym in May at the former Darlington FC stadium, now home to Darlington Mowden Park Rugby Club.
She declined to comment on whether the wording of the ad, which features a group shot of the CrossFit team, was designed to be provocative.
However, she told The Northern Echo: "This was where we could get the advertising space in Darlington, it is one of the two main routes into the town and hoardings are quite hard to come by.
"Whether or not it's controversial, it picks up people driving into Darlington from Teesside."
Mr Bannatyne operates more than 60 clubs across the country under the Bannatyne Health Club banner and has more than 180,000 members, according to its website.
It is a business that, among other ventures, has seen him amass a fortune which the Sunday Times last year estimated to be worth £85m.
However, that was considerably less than the disputed £430m figure just a year earlier, something Mr Bannatyne has blamed in part on his divorce.
A spokeswoman for Mr Bannatyne declined to comment.
However, the 64-year-old - who is starring in a new series of Dragons Den which began on Sunday - spoke about the divorce in a recent interview with the Daily Express.
"Relations could not be worse," he said. "She's angry with me, but I still don't know why because she won't speak to me. I'm still in love with her, but she hates me."
It is not the first time a rival fitness business has utilised the advertising space directly outside Bannatyne's.
When Lifestyle Fitness, in Eastmount Road, opened last year, it took out an advert on the same billboard.
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