A Eulogy for John Taylor from David Taylor - Jan 2006

I am going to try and tell you something of John Taylor from a Sons perspective.

In my early years I remember a loving and supportive family headed by Dad. Over time I have learnt more about those times and the struggles that Mum and Dad went through.

Rolls Royce crashed in 1971 ending what looked like a promising career for Dad. There were two kids, a wife and a mortgage to think about and Dad decided on a change in direction - he chose Teaching. He had a gift for mathematics, having achieved 100% in his 'O' level maths at school. He set about getting the necessary Teaching qualifications, subsidising his income with a Co-Op bread round and with Mum going back to work at nights and weekends. We were never put with child minders and so we had to be worked around. Mum always used to make sure we knew to ask for Dad in the night if she was at work. He went on to teach maths at Shelton Lock Secondary School and its fair to say he hated every minute of it!

So in 1975 he turned his childhood hobby of printing into a career and set up Brookside Press. He had to continue working as a supply teacher while Brookside got off the ground and so it was a case of 'teach by day - and print by night'. Setting up a business is hard at anytime but when the Government of the day is in turmoil and Interest Rates are running at a staggering 22% - it was some challenge.

I never remember wanting for anything and looking back, the sacrifices my parents made through this time were amazing. They went without buying any clothes for themselves for around 5 years - 'a habit I don't think my Dad quite got out of'. Seriously though - sheer hard work and determination from both of them provided my Brother and I with a childhood denied to many.

Dad was a fine sportsman and has passed on to me a love for sport and competition - in particular Squash and Skiing.

I remember even as kids his competitive spirit would not allow for Rob or I to win, we had to earn our victories He played Badminton to a high standard becoming a coach in the mid 70`s and its still hard for me to recall but he still was beating me when I was a 23 year old and he had not played for 10 years!!!

Of course, it was not all sweetness and light by any stretch of the imagination, we had the same ups and downs of Family life like everyone else but never once can I look back and doubt his commitment to his wife and family.

I was once asked a question by a close friend of his which I have never forgotten. He asked 'So now you've grown up David - what do you really think of your parents?' It seemed a strange sort of question but the answer was strangely simple. I replied they're alright' I thought about it some more and I realised that my parents were not just parents anymore, but were my friends also. Had they not been my Mum and Dad I would still have enjoyed a chat and a drink at the bar with them! I have enjoyed many ski holidays with my parents and my mates together. Never once have I felt uncomfortable in the company of both and this is something I am extremely proud of. Some of my happiest memories are of being with Dad, Rob and my mates having a last 'drink or two' at the top of a mountain and then a half-drunk ski race down. We would have a few more drinks at the bottom and swap stories of our various near misses and wobbles on the way down. I remember Dad always seemed to be the last left at the bar and yet - he always seemed to be the first as well.

Dad had strong opinions on most things and had an ability to be able to look past the surface issues and get to the heart of a matter very quickly. For this reason he was a great source of help and advice to his family over the years. As a young man I never agreed with him, even if he was right! But later on and particularly in my early business days he was a great help - his insights will be greatly missed by us.

As you have heard Dad was a fine Cricketer and his love for the Sport lasted his life time. I think his life could read a little like a batsman's innings. He took to the crease and had played very well to reach his fifty, a few little mishaps along the way but he had reached sixty with ease and was all set for the 'big score'. But, he got just one ball that none of us could have played and his innings was tragically cut short at 62.

The cycle of life is a curious thing and as I prepare to become a Father myself, I hope I can pass on some of the things he taught me.

Dad achieved a great deal in his time and apart from 'Choir Singing' - I don't think I exaggerate when I say that he was comfortably above average in anything he chose to do. Sometimes the shadow he cast was a difficult one to step out of, indeed as a young man I used to get frustrated as I was always known only as 'John Taylor's son'.

Yet standing here today, in front of so many people, I am proud to be known as nothing else. We must all remember that what we have lost in his death, will never eclipse what we gained from his life.

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