Former Bradford businessman Bob Slicer – the driving force of what became Britain’s biggest breakdown recovery company – has died in Australia at the age of 85.

Mr Slicer, originally from Low Moor, was managing director of the National Breakdown Recovery Club, which started as a three-man business at Claremont Garage, Morley Street, in 1971 and grew within three years to become the UK’s largest car breakdown firm with more than 100,000 members.

National Breakdown was taken over by National Car Parks in 1984 and became Green Flag in 1995.

In 1999, it was acquired by insurance group Direct Line and is now based at Pudsey and has more than two million members.

Mr Slicer, a millionaire former Buttershaw fish and chip shop owner, was a man of many parts and never afraid of speaking his mind.

He was a friend and vocal supporter of Yorkshire and England batsman Geoffrey Boycott against the then-committee of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

His love of cricket led him to suggest the idea of umpires wearing coats with the National Breakdown logo on the back during televised matches – years before sponsored umpires became a reality.

He was eventually ousted from National Breakdown in a bitter boardroom wrangle which saw his one-time protégé, the late Ernest Smith, take over the reins.

Mr Slicer left the UK to live in the tax haven of Andorra in northern Spain, before settling on a ranch in the outskirts of Melbourne.

In 1992, he re-entered the breakdown business by launching C.A.R.E., based in Listerhills, as a direct challenge to his former firm.

Aside from business, he was involved in many organisations. He served as a Conservative councillor on Bradford Council for four years and was president of several organisations, including Bradford Festival Choral Society; Hartshead Moor Cricket Club and Shipley St John Ambulance. He was also founder chairman of the Low Moor and Oakenshaw community centre.

Mr Slicer leaves a widow, Sheila – an accomplished watercolour miniaturist – and two daughters in Australia.