CIRCUS owner Gerry Cottle, who bought the Somerset museum and tourist attraction Wookey Hole, has died aged 75 after contracting the coronavirus.
Cottle found fame in the 1970s with his touring Gerry Cottle Circus and also presented the Moscow State Circus and Chinese State Circus in Britain.
The news of his death was revealed by his agent, Mark Borkowski, who said Cottle was “the last of the great circus showmen”.
Cottle, who died in hospital in Bath earlier in the week, bought Wookey Hole after retiring from the circus in 2003.
Mr Borkowski said in a statement: “Gerry was a loving family man who is survived by his wife Betty and three daughters and a son, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.”
He added on Twitter that he would “never forget all the mad adventures we shared”.
Cottle left home in Surrey to join the circus when he was just 15.
He had planned to enter the circus from the age of eight after seeing a performance in Earl’s Court, London, Mr Borkowski said.
His first show was performed in Sturminster Newton, Dorset, in the summer of 1970. It had just five performers, including himself.
Later in his career he promoted animal-free circus performances.