You haven’t seen energy in action until you’ve met Tony Snell who, after eight decades, is still planning his next project.
I met Tony at The Last Resort, built with his late wife, Jackie, some 30+ years ago. Born in Tumbridge Wells, Kent, and educated at Cheltenham College, Tony volunteered for the RAF when he was 18.A fighter pilot in WWII, he was captured in ’43 – shot down in Sicily and became a POW.
He escaped in route from an Italian hospital to a prison camp in Germany. Author Paul Brickhill recorded these experiences in “Escape or Die” written about RAF escapes.
“Nancy, I am finally going to write my autobiography. I have finished 5 tapes – without my twenty years as an actor, my two nightclubs, our boats in England or my one man show around Africa.
Jackie helped write some as we travelled the states & Mexico in a VW bus – our home in the 60s.In New York I recorded some songs that I had written while travelling.
The owner of ESP disks produced a record of mine in exchange for the lease of our newer bus.
I recorded the record, Medieval and Latter Day Leys, later called Englishman Abroad.
I wrote half of the songs while a friend, Donald Cotton, the author of the original Dr Who, wrote the others.
Upon release, Jackie and I went back to England where we bought a 30′ catamaran named Manito. We sailed to Spain and gave day charters out of Ibiza in 1966. One of our day charters, Ian Brakenbury, owned a small fleet in the BVI, with Robin Tattersall, called Virgin Voyages. Ian and I became good friends and he convinced us to move to the BVI and run the business for him and Robin. In ’69 we moved to Road Town where Virgin Voyages had three boats. Charlie & Virginia Carey (who started the Moorings) had five and CSY had seven.
Well, the venture didn’t work out because CSY did our bookings and they would book their boats before booking ours. Robin & Ian then sold the boats. Several Canadian surgeons were trying to develop a resort on Little Jost Van Dyke and needed a caretaker for the property located there. Jackie and I moved over and started The Last Resort, a restaurant next to where the present house is located.
After our successful first year it went up in flames – literally.
Returning to Spain, we sold our catamaran in Ibiza, headed back to the BVI and rebuilt The Last Resort on Bellamy Cay in Trellis Bay where we are now. We took our generator from JVD. Our furniture had been stolen so we basically started from scratch, building tables out of old hurricane shutters. We were living on a houseboat and moved it up to Trellis Bay. This was in 1972.
There was a derelict building on Bellamy Cay, which we have leased every six months for 32 years. The lease has gone up 40 times so we must have improved it too much.
During the three decades that followed we had truly eventful lives. We made our own electricity and later, water – everything. We travelled the Galapagos, bought a large derelict hotel in New Hampshire at Lake Sunapee that now houses 12 apartments, travelled to Bali, buying furniture to sell at our hotel in New Hampshire, bought a cottage in Sussex and an investment property
in Brighton.As Jackie spoke fluent Spanish, we travelled Central America, Ecuador and Venezuela. We had a wonderful life
together and I have never regretted a moment.”
Since Tony has retired, daughter Jessica and her husband, Ben Banford, run The Last Resort, a sailor’s favourite. As I said, Tony is one interesting man and, quite fortunately, is still wonderfully crazy after all these years.