CREATOR of former leisure park Tucktonia and Formula Three racing champion Harry Stiller has died aged 79.

Born in London in 1938, his family relocated to Leeds during the wartime blitz. There he attended Roundhay High School and, later, studied economics at Leeds University.

Motor racing was an early interest of Harry’s but his actual entry into the sport was almost by accident. In 1959 a couple of racing friends in Leeds blew their engine and Harry happened to have a replacement for them. With a new engine in place, he became the driver and a racing career was born. He eventually went on to win the British F3 championship in 1966 and 67 and dominated the category during that period.

At the same time he was developing his motorsport career, Harry was also entering the family business. His father owned the firm that produced 1001 Carpet Cleaner, and, in 1957, the product took off. Harry ran the sales side of the business until 1959 when his father sold the business to a large manufacturer. This prompted his move south to Bournemouth, and he bought the Golfer’s Arms pub in Christchurch, along with the adjacent golf course. This site was eventually developed into Tucktonia, which opened in May 1976.

The attraction, which was based next to the River Stour in Christchurch, drew visitors from all over the country and contained more than 200 models of a host of famous British locales – from Stonehenge to the Houses of Parliament, and from rural pubs to Tower Bridge.

Tucktonia was open until 1986.

In addition to this, Harry and his father ran a building business and developed many residential flats around Bournemouth which are still in use today.

In later years he opened and ran numerous successful businesses including Harry Stiller Motor Cars - a Rolls Royce dealership in Beverly Hills, California.

He owned pound shop stores in Scarborough, Newcastle upon Tyne, Stockton, Hatfield, as well as five stores near his home in Christchurch.

Harry was a true entrepreneur and had numerous successes throughout his life but there was nothing he was more proud of than his family. He leaves behind his beloved wife Annie, his children Tiffany, Lucas, Sophie and Sarah, son-in-laws Brent and Martin, and five beautiful grandchildren - Bella, Jayden, Ava, Cassidy and Brogan.

There are also many cherished friends that will miss his wit and wisdom.

“Harry’s notable accomplishments and larger-than-life personality are what people will remember,” his daughter Sarah said.

Harry died peacefully on Sunday, May 13, after a short battle with lung cancer. His funeral was held on Tuesday, May 29, at Bournemouth Crematorium.