Circus owner Gerry Cottle has died at the age of 75 years old.
According to his agent, his death came after contracting coronavirus.
Gerry Cottle became famous in the 1970s with his touring Gerry Cottle Circus. And after he presented the Moscow State Circus and Chinese State Circus in Britain.
Gerry’s agent, Mark Borkowski said he was “the last of the great circus showmen”.
Gerry died in hospital in Bath earlier in the week. He retired from the circus in 2003 and bought the Somerset tourist attraction, Wookey Hole after his retirement.
According to Mr. Borkowski in a statement:
“Gerry was a loving family man who is survived by his wife Betty, 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”.
How Gerry joined circus
However, at 15 years old, Cottle ditched his O-levels and left his family in Surrey to join the circus.
Meanwhile, Gerry Cottle had planned to enter the circus from the age of eight. After seeing a performance in Earl’s Court, London, Mr Borkowski said.
Nevertheless, his first show was performed in Sturminster Newton, Dorset, in the summer of 1970.
The first circus show had just five performers, including himself.
Cottle told The Telegraph newspaper last year that it had been a “terrible show” which took no money in eight weeks and closed down.
Later in his career he pioneered animal-free circus performance.
Cottle was born in Carshalton, Surrey.
His father and grandfather worked in the City. But he told the BBC’s Desert Island Discs in 1984 that he was entranced by the circus from the age of eight when he saw his first show at Earls Court.
Gerry decided earlier on that he wanted to run a circus rather than perform:
“I never wanted to be the greatest juggler or trapeze artist . I wanted to be the big boss.”
Furthermore, at the age of 15, Cottle ran off to join a circus. When he ran off, he left a note for his parents:
“I have gone forever”
He learned the ropes with a handful of travelling troupes, trying his hand at juggling and fire-eating.
Over the years he also worked in theatre, pantomime, light entertainment and variety.
Gerry will be missed by every circus liver and many people.
Sources: Bbc.com, Facebook