Albert Gubay, founder of Kwik Save, gave half of his money to Church causes

A billionaire papal knight who founded the supermarket chain Kwik Save has died aged 87.

Albert Gubay, who once made a “pact with God” to leave half his wealth to the Church, died at his home in Cheshire.

His firm the Derwent Group announced: “It is with the greatest sadness that we have to announce the death of our founder.

“Our thoughts are with his wife Carmel, his children and grandchildren,” added a spokesman.

In 2011 Gubay told the BBC that he made a pact with God as a young businessman. He said: “One Saturday, I didn’t know where the next penny was coming from and I lay on my bed and I had this conversation with God,” he said.

“I said: ‘God, help me and whatever I make over the years of my life, when I die, half will go to the Church.'”

Since then half of his money has gone to causes identified by the Catholic Church, with the other half going to other good causes.

In 2011 then Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster conferred a papal knighthood on Gubay, in recognition of his charitable acts.

Mr Gubay was born in 1928 in Rhyl, Wales, to an Iraqi Jewish father and an Irish mother.

He began his business career in North Wales selling sweets during the ration period following World War Two.

He went on to launch successful businesses such as the Total Fitness empire and acquired property developments in Liverpool and Manchester.

Mr Gubay made a fortune in excess of £1bn, a number he argued was “so great it does not mean anything”.