John Broome, the man who established Alton Towers as a modern theme park, has died at the age of 80.
A statement from Imperial Corporate Capital, to whom Broome was an advisor, confirmed the news on Friday.
“John was not just a colleague; he was a visionary and a pioneer whose far-reaching impact on the tourism industry is renowned,” the company said.
“From transforming Alton Towers into a landmark theme park to his innovative vision for Camel Creek Resort, John’s creativity and determination were truly extraordinary.”
Broome introduced the Alton Towers rides Corkscrew, Log Flume, Black Hole, and Around the World in 80 Days, among many others.
In 1987, he opened the park’s monorail alongside Star Trek actor William Shatner.
But it was seven years earlier, when the Corkscrew rollercoaster was introduced, that the Staffordshire estate was truly transformed.
It was was the largest such ride in the United Kingdom, and Broome effectively introduced the concept of the modern, in-land theme park in Britain.
Alton Towers went from being a country estate reliant on fairground rides, to a major amusement park rivalling the traditional seaside Pleasure Beaches and funfairs.
Broome was also heavily involved locally, serving as a governor at Staffordshire University for 16 years.
He left Alton Towers in 1991 when the Tussauds Group purchased the park, but he had introduced the concept of school trips before then.
His programme saw more than 600,000 pupils from across the UK travel to the theme park, usually towards the end of each summer term.