Edmiston, owner of the Birmingham-based IM Group, gave more than 10 per cent of his wealth to charitable causes last year - more than £28m of it to his own Christian Vision charity and £2m to a city academy based in Coventry.
He displaces Elton John at the top of the giving table. The singer slips to third place, having helped to generate more than £30m for charity in the past year. Scottish entrepreneur Tom Hunter is second. Eric Clapton was 12th in the list, having donated £4.3m over the past year.
Giving by the most wealthy is up by nearly 36 per cent since last year, according to figures calculated by the Charities Aid Foundation for the Sunday Times giving survey.
"Increasingly, wealthier people want to change the world through actively participating in philanthropy," said Stephen Ainger, chief executive of CAF.