A MUCH-loved adventurer and motivational speaker has died suddenly, aged only 52.

Clive Gott, of Tadcaster, was well-known in the region for being an inspiration to business people, schoolchildren and friends.

He was taken ill and died suddenly at home on Saturday, after he appeared to be recovering well from a knee operation. Heart trouble was suspected, said his partner, Elaine Hanzak.

Clive overcame obesity, weighing at one point 20 stone, to become super-fit, competing in ironman competitions.

He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside the Himalayas, and completed the Marathon Des Sables, a seven-day, 151-mile run across the Sahara Desert in 110C heat. After leaving school with no qualifications, Clive had 34 jobs, including butcher, welder, lorry driver, railway conductor and firefighter and fitness instructor before becoming a motivational speaker for audiences including schools.

Last year, he invoiced his millionth pound from his 12-year public speaking career, and released his latest book, entitled ‘It’s not your time… It’s the time you have’.

Elaine Hanzak, his partner of three years and fellow motivational speaker, said Clive had been her soulmate. “He was very down to earth and didn’t pull any punches. He was the sort of guy that walked into a room and he filled it. He had a king-sized personality and tremendous warmth about him and a genuine desire to do good in the world.

“He was happy to share the fact that he had been obese and in debt and had three divorces and that gave him the authenticity to say if you’re fat, you eat too much or if you’re in debt, you spend too much and if you’ve not achieved anything, you’ve been bone idle,” she said.

Elaine has asked well-wishers not to send sympathy cards, but cards to thank Clive for the way he touched their lives.

She has asked people to buy flowers for themselves instead of her, and to write a card saying “Love from Clive”, or to buy them for someone who would appreciate the act of kindness.

Clive, a former columnist for The Press, enjoyed playing golf at Sandburn and cycling. He was a big Leeds Rhinos fan and made it into the Guinness Book Of World Records playing darts in the 1980s.

Among the family he leaves behind are his sister, Lynn Gaddas, brother Malcolm Gott and their families as well as his daughter Laura, aged 26.

Elaine said well-wishers could contact her at Elaine@clivegott.com or 15 Toll Bar Way, Tadcaster LS24 8JT.