Bristol Sailor and Entrepreneur Dies aged 79

Bristol sailor and entrepreneur Tony Bullimore dies aged 79

Sailor and entrepreneur Tony Bullimore has died at the age of 79.

He became a global star in 1997 after surviving four days in the upturned hull of his boat which capsized during a solo round-the-world race.

Mr Bullimore moved to Bristol in the early 1960s and married Lalel, a West Indian immigrant with whom he opened the Bamboo Club, which hosted Bob Marley.

He had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Mr Bullimore earned the nickname the British Bulldog after his dramatic rescue during the Vendée Globe.

Extraordinary survival feat

He was feared to have drowned, until his vessel was spotted by an Australian navy ship and rescuers made for the scene.

The Queen praised Mr Bullimore’s “extraordinary feat of survival” and he was later introduced to Her Majesty.

The sailor famously crouched in the upturned hull of his yacht, surviving on chocolate and water.

Bristol’s Lord Mayor Cleo Lake paid tribute to Mr Bullimore, who she called “a Bristol legend both on the waters and on the music scene”.

The Bamboo Club, which opened in 1966, attracted many of the big names in reggae and offered a place for people of all backgrounds to socialise safely.

Roy Hackett, who was instrumental in the 1963 Bristol bus boycott, said that before the club opened: “You couldn’t go into pubs in Bristol on your own if you were black. You’d get a hiding.”

Mr and Mrs Bullimore also experienced racism as a mixed race couple.

Mr Bullimore was a renowned philanthropist and in a 2016 documentary made by Bristol, one friend described him as “generous and humble, who helped thousands of black people”.

In 2000 he starred in a documentary with the comedian Sir Lenny Henry as they crossed the Atlantic Ocean.


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