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Tony Bullimore, yachting legend, dies of cancer at 79

SAILOR Tony Bullimore, who made global headlines when he survived for four days inside his upturned boat, has died of cancer at the age of 79.

Mr Bullimore, known as the British Bulldog, was taking part in the 1996 Vendée Globe single-handed around-the-world race when his boat, the Exide Challenger, capsized off the coast of Australia.

He was thought to have drowned but in an astonishing tale of endurance survived in an air pocket inside the hull in freezing conditions. He was dramatically rescued by the Australian navy when a diver banged on the side of the boat.

Mr Bullimore came to prominence in Bristol in 1966 when he and his wife Lalel opened the Bamboo Club and welcomed reggae and soul acts, including Bob Marley and the Wailers and Ben E King. It closed after 11 years following a fire.

Bristol’s Lord Mayor Cleo Lake tweeted: ‘A Bristol legend both on the waters and on the music scene. Everything you did to break down racial barriers. Sleep well Tony Bullimore and thank you.’