TRIBUTE has been paid to a ‘larger than life’ Stratford man who for many years owned one of the most famous cars in the world.
Pierre Picton, who was known to most as Peter, sadly passed away earlier this month after contracting pneumonia.
The 82 year-old began his career in the entertainment industry as Pierre the Clown in 1954 and was the last surviving clown from Bertram Mills Circus.
The Shottery resident later became involved with the 1968 hit musical film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as an engineer for the magical flying car and also as a driving double for Dick van Dyke.
And he was the proud owner of the only fully functional Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car – complete with the GEN11 license plate – from the movie until 2011 when he sold it for £500,000 at auction in Los Angeles.
Peter and the car featured at rallies and he made regular appearances in Chitty at shows a round the country, and also raised thousands of pounds for charities locally.
And the late ‘King of Pop’ Michael Jackson offered him £500,000 for the car after seeing Peter driving it in a charity rally in 1990 but he said at the time no amount of money could tempt him to part with the car.
He is survived by wife Suzie, who told The Observer: “Stratford will be a worse place without him – he was a larger than life person in every way.
“He was a true gentleman, he loved kids and nobody loved traveling more than Peter, even when he was in a wheelchair.
“So many people have said such lovely things about him – one person has said how they only met him once but remembered how he could light up the room.”
Mrs Picton also thanked Warwick Hospital for their “wonderful” care of her husband.