Circus star Gerry Cottle dies aged 75 after contracting coronavirus

Circus star Gerry Cottle has died aged 75 after contracting coronavirus, his agent has said.

He found fame during the 1970s with the touring Gerry Cottle Circus, while he also presented the Moscow State Circus and Chinese State Circus in Britain.

Cottle, who was born in 1945, died in hospital in Bath.

Performers from Gerry Cottle's Circus
Performers from Gerry Cottle’s Circus (PA)

His agent 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.”

According to his agent he planned to enter the circus trade ever since he saw a performance in Earl’s Court, London, at the age of eight.

When he was 15 he ditched his O-levels and left his family in Surrey to join the circus.

He put on the first circus show of his own in the summer of 1970 in Sturminster Newton, Dorset, with just five performers including himself.

Cottle’s performance was staged inside a second-hand tent that used to be used to sell flowers.

By that time he had learnt juggling, stilt walking, acrobatics, clowning and bareback horse riding.

Later in his career Cottle helped pioneer animal-free circus performances and reportedly stopped using animals in shows during the 1990s.

He retired from the circus in 2003 and bought Wookey Hole, a museum and amusement attraction in Somerset.

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